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Encounters Bristol International Film Festival

Encounters Bristol International Film Festival is the UK’s longest running competitive short film and animation festival.

The festival presents one of the world’s best-known showcases and meeting points for emerging talent, and seeks to promote the importance of short film as a means to develop the next generation of filmmakers and animators.


The festival began life in 1995 as Brief Encounters - originally envisioned as a ‘one-off' event, to mark the centenary of cinema. It proved so popular that it is now an annual attraction - expanding year on year and acknowledged internationally as one of the world's most respected celebrations of short film and animation.

In 2001, the short film festival was joined by Animated Encounters - celebrating and showcasing the productions, talent, creativity, technology and skills that make animation such a popular and successful film form worldwide. It too, has enjoyed a rapid rise to global prominence, as is demonstrated by its status as the UK's representative for the prestigious European Cartoon D'Or.

Originally these two festivals were held at separate times of the year, however, in 2006 the two events united under the Encounters Short Film Festival banner to record-breaking effect. This trend continued for the next 3 years with the festival growing from strength to strength with each annual event.

2010 saw the return of Animated Encounters with the competition programmes being divided into three strands; Animated Encounters, dedicated to showcasing short animated films, Brief Encounters which continues to provide a platform for both live action and animated short films, and DepicT!, a Watershed project for the competition of ninety second short films.

Highlights from the most recent edition of the festival include actor Andy Serkis (Lord of the Rings Trilogy), comedian Tim Minchin, director Ken Wardrop discussing his progression from Shorts to Features, and a Cinematography Masterclass with Chris Ross (London to Brighton).

Previous special guests at the festival have included Andrea Arnold, Jeremy Brock, John Coates, Paddy Considine, Mark Kermode, Richard Eyre, Henry LaBounta, Peter Lord, Phill Jupitus and Frank Cottrell Boyce.


In December 2010, Encounters International Film Festival became a qualifying festival for Academy Awards Short Film Category. Then during March 2011, Encounters announced a new partnership with the European Film Academy Short Film Initiative, becoming a member of the elite circle of 15 European festivals that present the nominations for the European Film Academy Short Film Awards.

Encounters is now the leading UK gateway to the world’s most prestigious short film and animation awards, also including BAFTA's and Cartoon D'Or.

The 2011 festival will be held between 16 – 20 November, at venues in and around the Harbourside area of Bristol, UK. Encounters Festivals Ltd is a limited company and registered charity, managed by a board of trustees.
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