The Brussels Super 8 International Film Festival 1983


I have recently returned from the mind-blowing Brussels Super 8 Film Festival. When I started making my little animated movies a few years ago, I never dreamed it would lead to events like this.

Sheila Hill, who is a leading light in the International Film Federation of Super 8, recently asked me for a copy of BONZO’S LAST TRICK for a festival she was attending in Caracus. Not realising it was a competition, I was later surprised and delighted to hear that I had won a major prize and some cash. More importantly, the Caracus festival led to my being invited to show a retrospective of my films at the Brussels Film Festival. I was invited, all expenses paid, to attend the whole of the festival.

A couple of Arty Types at the Festival.

It was like no other festival I have attended. It ran for five days. The Festival took over a cultural centre in Brussels, and from 10.30 each morning until midnight there were films, films, and more films! Mixed in with the programme there were a few examples of ‘performance’ art, usually involving film. The centre was a splendid venue. It had a main cinema seating 400, a smaller cinema seating about 60, a bar/refreshment lounge, and a large foyer where the visitors gathered to talk film. It was impossible to see everything, the little cinema ran a few programmes concurrently with the main theatre, and even then the programme had to be pruned here and there. The major part of screen time was taken up with two competitions which were judged separately. The first was the National competition for Belgian film-makers only, and the other for International competitors.

The programme also included retrospectives by film makers from Germany, Libya, Algeria, France, Australia, Portugal, Egypt, Puerto-Rico, Iran and just one from the U.K. – mine. It was very interesting to see the different styles, the only thing in common being an enthusiasm for film. There was such a great variety of work on display that I shall have to limit myself to the animation. For the purpose of the competition, animation was lumped together with the experimental films.
Our overseas brethren are very fond of ‘experimental’ films, at the Brussels Festival I saw ten times the number of experimental films as I have seen in 7 years on the U.K. scene. Most of the experimental films used animation techniques to some degree, so it’s appropriate to mention some of them.

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