Encounters Festival launches 2016 programme

Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival returns to Bristol from 20th to 25th September. This year audiences, filmmakers and industry players can expect five days of the best short films from more than 40 countries alongside a series of special big screen events, a comprehensive industry programme and Q and As with leading filmmakers.

As Europe’s leading short film festival, this year the Encounters Festival International Competition screenings present 231 short films in 24 programmes, playing across 3 days in Watershed with winning films screened in special programmes at the weekend. Judged by an appointed panel of industry experts, the shorts cover genres including live action, animation, music video, experimental, documentary and comedy.

Contenders are in the running for nomination for top short film and animation accolades: the Academy Awards, BAFTAs and European Film Awards and Cartoon D’or, to which Encounters is a leading UK gateway.

This year sees the live action category well represented from the UK with established and emerging talent competing side by side. Rising star Kate Herron’s Fan Girl tells the story of a group of superfans breaking into the house of a faded 90s pop star, while alumni Rob Savage returns this year with two films in competition with Dawn of the Deaf, a horror short, appearing in the festival’s popular Late Lounge programme. Encounters alumni and festival favourite, Peep Show writer Jesse Armstrong is shortlisted with Incident on The Northern Line, the story of an unexpected collision on the public transport system sending two commuters on a strange journey. Celebrated filmmaker Simon Ellis returns with World War Cup, a grim display of misguided patriotism and tribal thuggery during the England-Germany 2010 World Cup football match.

Internationally entries have been equally strong. Marco La Via will feature with Diane from the Moon, a transgender pagan priestess recovering from a break-up by finding refuge in Palm Springs. Irish Director of East is East and festival alumni Damien O’Donnell is in competition with ‘How was your day?’ A story of a woman excited ahead of childbirth. It’s not about this! A woman struggling to come to terms with the challenges of motherhood.

In animation categories Encounters will be showing a special screening of Nexus Production’s World Premiere of Nicolas Menard’s new film ‘Wednesday with Goddard’, after he won an Encounters Grand Prix last year with ‘Loop Ring Chop Drink’. His colourful universe communicates strong ideas with bold, peculiar visuals, combining illustration and graphic design in a poetic and conceptual approach.

This year, in its home town of Bristol Encounters will host The Aardman 40th Anniversary Special, a Q and A with co-founders Peter Lord and David Sproxton, looking back at key moments in creating much-loved characters and bringing unforgettable stories to life. This event includes the premiere screening of the remastered version of Peter Gabriel’s ground-breaking ‘Sledgehammer’ music video.

In this year’s Shorts2Features programme, BAFTA winning Bristol based filmmaker Esther May Campbell showcases her feature debut Light Years featuring singer songwriter Beth Orton, while Encounters alumni Finlay Pretsell debuts Norfolk. The festival will welcome Hugh Welchman, the founder and Creative Director of BreakThru Films to introduce a retrospective of the studios’ work and to do a special masterclass on the making of the highly anticipated feature film ‘Loving Vincent’. Telling the story of the life and works of Vincent Van Gogh, each of the 62,450 frames in this film are hand-painted by 100 artists in the style of Van Gogh.

The festival will also feature a huge industry programme with events led by the NFTS, London Film Academy and Nexus amongst others.

Encounters Festival is a qualifying UK festival for the Oscars®, BAFTAs, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or. The longest running competitive short film and animation festival in the UK, Encounters Festival provides a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, and a unique meeting place for the industry.

Encounters Festival is made possible with support of the BFI Film Festival Fund, awarding funds from The National Lottery, Bristol City Council and the MEDIA Programme of the European Union.

Encounters Festivals Ltd operates as an independent company and is a registered charity. For more details visit: www.encounters-festival.org.uk