Festival Focus: Encounters Programme Preview

Posted August 12th, 2016 by Matt Turner


The UK’s leading short film and animation festival Encounters returns to the Watershed Bristol in late September for it’s 22nd edition, serving as a platform for both emerging and established animators and filmmakers who’ve produced work in the short form.

Established in 1995, the festival was created to celebrate cinema’s centenary, and in 2001 animation was added into the festival’s programme. In 2010 Encounters Festival became a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards Short Film Category, and it’s official competitions also serves as a gateway to the BAFTAs, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or.

In addition to their 230 film strong international competition, this year’s edition features a celebration of Aardman for the studio’s 40th anniversary, a spotlight on Ukraine that includes short films from The Tribe director Miroslav Slaboshpytskiy; and a new strand devoted to diversity – Widening The Lens.

We select five short films from their bountiful offering, five that show the depth and variety of the festival – and let you know which programmes you can catch them in.

Camrex – Mark Chapman

Camrex – from photographer and documentarian Mark Chapman – is a powerful short doc about the Camrex House, a notorious homeless hostel in Sunderland. Constructed mainly from interviews, Chapman’s film is an artful, sensitive portrait of a difficult place and plight. You can read an interview with the director on Cineuropa Shorts, and catch the film in the Islands programme.

Dawn of the Deaf – Rob Savage

SP filmmaker Rob Savage’s Dawn of the Deaf is one of two films he has at Encounters – an intriguing sounding genre piece that premiered at Fantasia Fest in Montreal. In it, a band of deaf people come band together to survive against some kind of apocalypse affecting the hearing population. It plays in the batch of “sick and twisted” Late Lounge films.

Sweet Maddie Stone – Brady Hood

We saw Brady Hood’s Sweet Maddie Stone at the NTFS graduate show earlier this year, and were impressed by its energy and tenacity. It’s one of four NFTS films at Encounters this year, playing in the first Sux2BeMe programme. A fairly twisted school drama, Hood’s film follows the precocious protagonist as she struggles against her school and her troubled father.

Daniel Mulloy – Home

Another SP director, Daniel Mulloy is a prolific, lauded short filmmaker who won the Short Film BAFTA in 2006 for Antonio’s Breakfast as well as two BAFTA Cymru awards before that. His latest Jack O’Connell starring short Home plays in the Post-Brexit inspired Bloody Foreigners programme, and follows an English family that come into direct contact with the refugee crisis whilst on holiday.

Duncan Cowles – Isabella

Made in collaboration with SP animator Ross Hogg, Isabella is an animated doc-portrait of Hogg’s grandmother, that investigates memory and loss through various formal experiments. It has screened at a number of festivals already, and picked up several awards. Catch it at Encounters in the Islands programme and see an enigmatic, impressive film from two of Scotland’s most exciting new filmmakers.

These are just five of hundreds of carefully selected and organised short films at Encounters. Take a look at the full list of competition titles, or browse the full programme. Encounters takes place at Watershed in Bristol from the 20th to 25th September. 


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