Now in its 19th year, The Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival has helped cement Bristol’s place on the map as a home of innovative film-making. Encounters is the UK’s longest running film festival, and one of the world’s best known showcases for short and animated film talent. When the event returns to Bristol between the 17th and 22nd September visitors can enjoy specially curated works from some of the world’s leading creative talent. This year’s programme sees more than 225 films from 40 countries taking part. Entrants will be hoping to take home cash prizes of up to £2000 for individual entries, but far more significantly offers the opportunity to win entry into the Short Film and Animation categories for the BAFTA’s, Oscars and European Film Awards amongst others.
We’re delighted to have been supporting this year’s event creating a number of pieces of video content for use throughout the festival, including the trailer for this year’s event which has just been released. The Encounters trailer has always traditionally been animated, but this year the organisers’ wanted to go down the live action route, incorporating some of the imagery for which Bristol is best known.
We’ve also been producing some films around the #0117 Film Challenge which will be released later in the year. Encounters will include two main strands of content, Brief Encounters covers live action and mixed format films, and Animated Encounters focuses on animated short film talent. This year music videos will also include their own dedicated award and some very strong representations from some experimental shorts, both within Brief Encounters and Animated Encounters.
The Brief Encounters selection features new short format work by a number of established British filmmakers who are returning to the festival, including Daniel Mulloy (Bashk), Chris Shepherd (The Ringer), Simon Ellis (Stew and Punch) and John Smith (Dad’s Stick). Prominent national talent is also on display in Orbit Ever After, directed by 2012 Screen ‘Star of Tomorrow’ Jamie Stone and starring Mackenzie Crook, No Kaddish in Camarthen by Jesse Armstrong (co-writer of Peep Show, The Thick of It and Four Lions), Aneil Karia’s Beat, starring Ben Whishaw, Ben Ockrent’s Dust featuring Alan Rickman and Jody Whittaker, and Rachna Suri’s Our Lad with Aquib Khan (West is West). The latter is part of a programme entitled Visions of Modern Europe, which presents contemporary perspectives on a continent in crisis. Brief Encounters also includes a number of European short films that have already enjoyed success on the festival circuit, including Berlinale Golden Bear winner The Runaway (Jean-Bernard Marlin, France), Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure (Sweden) which took the Canal+ Award at the Cannes International Critics’ Week, and the film that swept the awards board at the Clérmont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in February, Before Losing Everything (Xavier Legrand, France).
Animated Encounters has its own fair share of award winners on board. Fresh from this year’s BAFTA win for The Making of Longbird, Will Anderson is in competition with his new short Sweetie & Sunshine (UK), and Tony Donoghue’s Irish Folk Furniture (Ireland), which won the Sundance prize for best short animation, will be screening. Encounters veterans Paul Bush (Lay Bare, UK) and Theodore Ushev (Glory Victoria, Canada) are also back with new work. Meanwhile, the world premiere of Adam Wells’ Risehigh (UK) is hotly tipped to make an impression at the festival this year. Overall, there is a strong presence of puppet animation, with two entire dedicated programmes – Power to the Puppets and No Strings Attached. The focus includes Bydlo by Patrick Bouchard (Canada), which won best animated film at the Clérmont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.