Uberto Pasolini’s directorial debut Machan won the Golden Iris Award at the 7th Brussels Film Festival, which closed on Sunday (July 5).

The film, an Italy-Germany-Sri Lanka co-production, tells the story of a group of desperate Sri Lankan slum dwellers who hastily form a handball team after finding an invitation to go a tournament in Bavaria. Pasolini, the producer of The Full Monty, will receive $13,914 (€10,000) as part of the prize. Machan also took Belgian broadcaster RTBF TV’s award for best film.

The jury, led by German director Hannes Stöhr, gave the Special Award to Claudio Giovannesi’s family drama La Casa Sulle Nuvole, also a first film.

The Audience Award, chosen by the audience from the Official competition and premieres at the festival, was handed to Mammoth, a Sweden-Germany-Denmark co-production, from director Lukas Moodysson. The English-language film tells the story of a New York couple and their Filipino live-in maid, and the upheavals they face.

The nine-day festival closed with awards ceremony followed by the premiere of Bruno Podalydes’ Bancs Publics, which was screen simultaneously in Paris to mark the opening of the Festival of Paris. Other premieres included Stöhr’s Berlin Calling.

The festival, in collaboration with Age d’Or/Cinedecouvertes and the LUX Prize, aims to promote young and emerging talent and low-budget productions. This year’s selection also marked “the meeting of continents”, through films such as Joueuse, the French production starring American actor Kevin Kline, and Mammoth, which stars Mexican actor Gael Garcia Bernal.

It also hosted a range of workshops looking making low-budget features and a film story competition, which was held in collaboration with the Flemish Screenwriters Guild. A music festival, Brussels XL Summer Festival of Flagey, ran alongside the event.

The full competition line-up:

  • Awaydays by Pat Holden (UK)
  • La Casa Sulle Nuvole by Claudio Giovannesi (Italy)
  • Country Wedding by Valdis Oskarsdottir (Iceland)
  • Donne-Moi La Main by Pascal-Alex Vincent (France)
  • The Higher Force by Olaf de Fleur Johannesson (Iceland)
  • In Your Veins by Beata Gårdeler (Sweden)
  • Joueuse by Caroline Bottaro (France)
  • Katalin Varga by Peter Strickland (Rumania/Great Britain/Hungary)
  • Machan by Uberto Pasolini (Italy/Germany/Sri Lanka)
  • North by Rune Denstad Langlo (Norway)
  • Somewhere Between Here and Now d’Olivier Boonjing (Belgium)
  • Unmade Beds by Alexis Dos Santos (Great Britain)
  • La Vergüenza (The Shame) by David Planell (Spain)
  • Wrong Rosary by Mahmut Fazil Coskun (Turkey)



  • Golden Iris: Machan
  • Special Jury Prize: La Casa Sulle Nuvole
  • Best Performance: Hilda Péter for Katalin Varga and Malin Crépin for In Your Veins
  • Special Mention for Best Scene: North
  • Audience Award: Mammoth
  • The RTBF TV award for best film: Machan
  • The BeTV award for best film: Joueuse
  • The Prime Telenet award for best film: Somewhere Between Here And Now