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BIFFF 2024

Franky Five Star scoops the Silver Méliès at the BIFFF

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- The European Competition’s Grand Prize was awarded to German director Birgit Möller’s movie, while Kazakh film Steppenwolf won big in the International Competition

Franky Five Star scoops the Silver Méliès at the BIFFF
Franky Five Star by Birgit Möller

The 42nd edition of the Brussels International Fantastic Film Festival closed last Sunday with the announcement of its winners, whose ranks were led by the latest (and fifteenth!) film by prolific Kazakh director Adilkhan Yerzhanov, Steppenwolf. The movie tells the story of a country devastated by civil war and the gory escapade of an unlikely duo: a mother in search of her son who has been kidnapped by human organ traffickers and an unscrupulous detective. First discovered in January at the Rotterdam Film Festival, the movie ultimately walked away with the Golden Raven. The Silver Raven, meanwhile, was awarded ex-aequo to two productions: Your Monster, an American romcom and musical horror by Caroline Lundy, and Cuckoo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
, a German-American co-production by German director Tilman Singer, who turned heads in 2018 with his second feature film Luz. This 42nd edition of the festival attracted a huge number of viewers (47,000, up 10% on last year’s event).

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The BIFFF also hosts a European competition whose winner leaves with a Silver Méliès, putting them in the running for the Golden Méliès - a European distinction celebrating genre films. This year’s victor was the second feature film by German director of photography and director Birgit Möller, Franky Five Star [+see also:
film review
interview: Birgit Möller
film profile
]
, which paints a surprising portrait of a young woman who is never truly alone because she’s inhabited by four other people, who are all guests in an adorable little hotel (hence the titular 5 stars). Everything would be fine in Franky’s enchanted world, if it weren’t for the fact that she’s fallen in love and for the risk of the object of her affections being surprised by her other personalities. A Special Mention, meanwhile, went to the Spanish movie Flies [+see also:
film review
interview: Aritz Moreno
film profile
]
by Aritz Moreno, which was discovered in Sitges last year.

The festival is similarly known for its selection of detective films, thrillers and other films noirs, and in this particular category a Spanish movie played its cards right, with the Black Raven being awarded to David MarquésEllipsis, revolving around a writer of detective stories whose past catches up with him.

As is often the case, Asian cinema was very well represented at the BIFFF. The Japanese movie River by director Junta Yamaguchi walked away with no fewer than three prizes: the White Raven, which distinguishes "bizarre, radical, innovative and undefinable" movies, the Audience Award and the Critics’ Prize. Meanwhile, Korean director Jason Yu’s film Sleep scooped the Emerging Raven, which - as its name indicates - honours emerging filmmakers.

The festival likewise hosts a Belgian Short Film Competition, which helps to foreground young local talent working in genre film, which is far from dominant in Belgian film production. The Grand Prize in this competition was won by Nicole Tegelaar’s Poppy’s Saturn.

The full list of winners is as follows:

International Competition

Golden Raven
Steppenwolf - Adilkhan Yerzhanov (Kazakhstan)

Silver Raven (ex-aequo)
Your Monster - Caroline Lindy (USA)
Cuckoo [+see also:
film review
trailer
film profile
]
- Tilman Singer (USA/Germany)

European Competition

Silver Méliès
Franky Five Star [+see also:
film review
interview: Birgit Möller
film profile
]
- Birgit Möller (Germany/Finland)

Special Mention
Flies [+see also:
film review
interview: Aritz Moreno
film profile
]
- Aritz Moreno (Spain/Argentina)

Black Raven Competition

Black Raven
Ellipsis - David Marqués (Spain)

Special Mention
Unspoken - Daming Chen (USA/China)

White Raven Competition

White Raven
River - Junta Yamaguchi (Japan)

Special Mention
In a Violent Nature - Chris Nash (Canada)

Emerging Raven Competition

Emerging Raven
Sleep - Jason Yu (South Korea)

Short Film Competition

Best International Short Film
Transylvanie - Rodrigue Huart (France)

Silver Méliès for Best European Short
Im Not a Robot - Victoria Warmerdam (Holland)

Grand Prize for Best Belgian Short
Poppys Saturn - Nicole Tegelaar (Belgium)

BeTV Prize for Best Belgian Short
Vogelkooi - Karel Konings (Belgium)

LaTrois Prize for Best Belgian Short
Au Suivant - Jeanne Remi & Marco Bolla (Belgium)

Youth Jury Prize for Best Belgian Short
Les Yeux dOlga - Sarah Carlot Jaber (Belgium)

Other awards

Critics’ Prize
River - Junta Yamaguchi

Audience Award
River - Junta Yamaguchi

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(Translated from French)

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