A name to sleep on…

In the spring of 1982, Annie Bozzo, Gigi Etienne, Freddy Bozzo as well as Guy and Georges Delmote - in short, the whole gang - met at "Cheval Blanc", a restaurant on rue Haute with the fake air of a Parisian brasserie. The success of “60 years of Fantastic Cinema”, a solid retrospective on genre cinema, has clearly electrified them. We had done German cinema, Italian, fantasy…, says Georges. The problem is that every time you have to start from scratch! So, the idea was to choose a theme that we continue to exploit. Rather than making efforts each time to create a new audience, we build a loyal audience. And so, the quintet happily feasts while gambling on the possibility of an annual fantastic festival. In addition to the obvious demand from the public for this kind of film, fantasy in the broad sense of the term had a significant advantage, as Annie reminds us: It was not possible to organize an Italian film festival every year, for example. There weren't enough productions. On the other hand, in fantasy, science fiction and thriller, we always had new films coming out every year, it never stopped! And, unlike retrospectives, the premieres allowed us not only to have a slightly greater visibility with the press, but it also enabled us to work with the film distributors to bring artists to Brussels.


The time was ideal to launch this kind of initiative because, in 1982, one could not really say that the Belgian capital was festival city central. Apart from the Brussels International Film Festival created by Balachoff in 1974 , the International Independent Film Festival (FIFI for short) and the recent "Animation Cinema Meetings" (the future "Anima" festival) which had just been launched, there wasn’t that big an audience for film events. In short, it was a golden opportunity for PeyMey... But, against all odds, Freddy vetoed it: I was cautious because I had not participated to the 60 Years of Fantastic Cinema, so I hadn’t felt the feedback that it got, he nuances. I was opposed, but not from an artistic point of view. I told myself that we had to be careful because there was no precedent. Will a fantasy film festival work or not? I was a bit scared to face the fact that we were now moving on to something completely different. An international festival, the premieres, the budget etc... I was being realistic. His militant side also plays a part. He saw the potential of thematic festivals and the ideological debates that they could bring, but the dreamlike perfume of fantasy, was not - according to him – politically meaty enough. It’s an a priori that he will soon set aside later, but, in the smoke-filled atmosphere of the "Cheval Blanc", Freddy does not waver. He is resolutely against this idea! The gang then crosses words, like others cross swords, debates ignite and the majority ends up winning late in the evening, as Annie recounts: We managed to convince Freddy by offering to do the fantastic festival and, in parallel, we would organize other film festivals: the Biennial of Italian cinema, the Mediterranean etc… Freddy confirms: There was a community behind it, a lifeline in case it didn’t work. But I was finally convinced by the others... And, as the Americans say, it was "the right time at the right place".


And so it was on this famous spring evening of 1982 that the Brussels International Festival of Fantasy, Thriller & Science-Fiction Films was born, which would take place a year later under the atrocious French acronym of F.I.F.F.S.F.Bxl…

Annie Bozzo
Gigi Etienne
Freddy Bozzo
Guy Delmote
Georges Delmote