Founded by Aardman co-founder David Sproxton, since its naissance the festival has become a qualifying UK festival for the Oscars, BAFTAs, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or.
Taking place in venues across Bristol, Encounters will feature events including a free ‘Perpetual Cinema’: a retrospective screening of 20 short films that organisers feel ‘represent the creativity, diversity and impact of short film’ which will run continuously throughout the evenings and weekend.
The Watershed venue will be screening more than 200 competition films from around the world, including music videos and those submitted to the new comedy category.
The festival boasts a total of 119 events over its six-day run, and other highlights look set to be a focus on the legacy of Scottish-born animator, Norman McLaren; a new commissioned performance by British artist Benedict Drew; and sound artist Philip Jeck and visual artist Lol Sargent’s AV piece Vinyl Requiem (replayed).
One of the headline events is the Industry Forum, which ‘will look to explore the dissolving boundaries between film, media and art’, according to organisers. As well as panel debates, the forum will also feature the World Premier of IShorts and artist film shorts; and each day takes a unique theme – Fusion on the Wednesday, Festival on the Thursday and Form on the Friday.
Debbi Lander, Encounters festival director, says, ‘When the Festival began we were moving out of the analogue age and into digital so for our 20th birthday we wanted to look back at this history while looking forward to what lies ahead, allowing us to address what the future looks like for film and animation.’