One of the worlds best respected showcases for animation and

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17-21 November, Watershed, Bristol
The UK’s most important short film festival, The Guardian

Britain’s biggest competitive international short film festival, Encounters, celebrates its
15th birthday this autumn (17-21 November) and returns to Bristol’s Watershed with
another glorious panoramic roundup of the best of the world’s cinematic shorts. The five
day fest (running from Tuesday to Saturday) will present a bonanza slice of international
shorts, screening over 300 new films from 31 countries including over 50 premieres, with
education and training from respected industry professionals, and an array of special
guests, parties and hotly contested awards.

The line up of special guests this year has yet to be completely finalised, but guests so far
confirmed include: 69 year old Russian animation master Andrei Khrzhanovsky presenting
his first feature film, Oscar winning shorts director Andrea Arnold, New York experimental
filmmaker Jem Cohen, and documentary and Portishead music video director John
Minton. Previous Encounters guests have included Terry Giliam, Shane Meadows, Anthony
Minghella, Ken Russell, Terence Davies, Mike Figgis, Ray Harryhausen, Matt Groening,
and Nick Park, so watch this space for news of additions to 2009’s guest list!

Says Festival Director Liz Harkman: “ This year’s stunning round up of international shorts
was selected from a staggering 1500 entries from 58 countries, an increase encouraged no
doubt by our new online submission process sponsored by”.

She continues: “Also new this year is the First Encounters Young People’s Film Festival
which will run alongside the main event on the Friday and Saturday (20/21 November) at
the Showcase Delux in Cabot Circus, Bristol. This new platform for young talent will be
managed and delivered by a team of young people and allow their distinctive voices to be

Festival Programme Highlights:

* Andrei Khrzhanovsky (Weds 18 Nov, 6pm) - A revolutionary figure in the history of
Russian animation and best known in the 1960s for creating an alternative to the prevailing
official ‘Soviet Disney’ aka ‘Soiuzmult film’. His first non-conformist films were social
parables and some (such as his 1968 short The Glass Harmonica) were banned and
Khrzhanovsky disciplined and sent to serve in the Navy. They were finally screened over 20
years later during Gorbachev’s ‘Perestroika’ period. Khrzhanovsky will be present in Bristol
to celebrate his 70th birthday and to introduce a retrospective of his life in short film.

* Encounters Short Film Awards (Sat 21 Nov, 7pm) – Prizes totalling over £11,000 are
given in 15 major awards to the best films screened at the Festival. Awards include:
International Award; British Award; South West Award; 4Mations Emerging Talent
inAnimation Award; UK Film Council Audience Award; South West Screen Audience Award;
Film Club Children’s Jury Award/Animation; Film Club Children’s Jury Award/Live Action;
Film Club Teenage Jury Award; Kodak/NAHEMI Cinematography Award; Online Award;
DEPICT! NFTS Special Mention Award, and the Shooting People DEPICT! Award. The unique
DEPICT! Awards challenge filmmakers to make a micro-movie in 90 seconds.

* Guest Programmes - This year the Festival will include: a country focus on Romania (in
collaboration with Este’n’est; a Greek programme, in collaboration with Thess Short Film
Festival; a Mexican retrospective presented by Expresion En Corto IFF; a Best of Northern
Ireland selection; a B3 Media Showcase (made by filmmakers from black and ethnic
minorities), and the Cartoon d’Or 2009 Finalists. Plus, premieres of the BBC Drama
Shorts, and the UK Film Council’s Digital Nation. Plus, new for 2009, shorts from the
4Mations New Digital Animation scheme.

* BAFTA A Brief Encounter with…..(Guest TBC) – a very special guest will discuss their
career and share clips from their most memorable cinematic moments on stage at The

* Desert Island Flicks – a leading figure from animation will be marooned with only their
favourite films for company. (Watch this space for more information).

* Shorts2Features – Showcasing recent feature films made by directors who honed their
craft making shorts, accompanied by their first shorter works and followed by discussions
with the filmmakers. Films will include Fish Tank with Oscar-winning short film director
Andrea Arnold (Saturday 21 Nov, 4.30pm).

* Jem Cohen (Thurs 19 Nov, 7pm, Arnolfini) – New York based filmmaker, Jem Cohen’s
work straddles documentary, artists’ video and essay or diary filmmaking. Cohen will
introduce a programme of work that includes his portraits of musicians such as: REM,
Elliott Smith, Patti Smith and cult band Fugazi. Cohen paints a freewheeling, energetic
and more thoughtful account of the alternative music scene.

* John Minton Filmmaker Focus (Thurs 19 Nov, 4pm) – Minton joins Mark Cosgrove
(Encounters’ Creative Director) on stage to talk about his career spanning experimental
documentary, short film and music videos. Recent work includes the BAFTA winning film
September and music videos for Portishead.

* 8 International Panorama Programmes – (various times see website for details). A
dazzling array of shorts from 58 different countries with work from as far afield as New
Zealand, Argentina, Israel and the Ukraine, and for the first time this year, Estonia.
Highlights include many of this year’s BAFTA and Oscar nominees as well as Werner
Herzog’s La Boheme, and Edinburgh winner Princess Margaret Boulevard by Kazik

* 6 Best of British Programmes, including one dedicated to films from the South West –
(various times see website for details). Cinematic proof that homegrown filmmakers can
hold their own against their European and international counterparts. Highlights include:
Sidney Turtlebaum starring Derek Jacobi; Trapped starring Sean Pertwee; Love-Bytes
Sonet No. 12 narrated by Alan Rickman; Pictures starring Andrea Corr and Neil Pearson;
Daniel Elliot’s Silver Bear winning film, Jade; scriptwriter Toni Grisoni’s directorial debut,
Kingslands 1, the Dreamer; and Nick Park’s BAFTA winning animation, Wallace and
Gromit’s A Matter of Loaf and Death.
* 2 New Online Programmes developed in partnership with Babelgum. The Festival will
expand its reach to a global audience with two new programmes only available online.
These are the first Online Audience Award, with voting from 23 September via Babelgum
and the Festival websites, and a special 15th anniversary film selection featuring the Best
of the last decade and a half of Encounters programming, live from 26 October. Both
channels are available through and

Press Enquiries:

For more info, pics, press tickets or interviews, please contact: Clare Wilford
+ 44 (0)20 7729 6751/ + 44 (0)75 4575 6462;

Editors Notes:

The full festival programme, delegate registration and online ticket sales will be available
from Saturday 3 October : To book tickets in person, or
by phone, contact Watershed, 1 Canons Road, Bristol, BS1 5TX.Tel: +44 (0) 117 927 5100.

The Encounters Awards are judged by International, British and animation juries including
the following distinguished jury members: Camilla Deakin ( Film); Aron
Evans (Dinamo Animation); Niclas Gilberg (Uppsala Short Film Festival, Sweden); Tom
Harper (director of Scouting Book for Boys); Vlad Ilicevici (Est n’Est, Romania); Jonathan
Romney (Film Critic, Independent on Sunday); Kate Swan (producer), and Kenneth Tan
(Media Development Agency, Singapore).

The Encounters Short Film Festival is run by Encounters Festivals Ltd. It began in 1994, as
Brief Encounters, and initially focused exclusively on short film (ie films under 30 minutes).
In 2001, it was joined by Animated Encounters, a celebration of animated film of all
lengths traditionally taking place annually in April. Since 2006, both events have taken
place back-to-back, to pack in more screenings and enable filmmakers from both sectors
to take part in classes, workshops, debates and talks of joint interest.

The festival is funded by Bristol City Council and South West Screen.

It is sponsored by: Hewlett Packard, Films @59, UK Film Council, Watershed, Aardman, BBC
Film Network, Film Four, University of the West of England, Babelgum, Film Club,
4mations, BAFTA, Bristol Media, Kodak, Kudlian Software, NAHEMI, Smith & Williamson,
SWRDA, The Bristol Hotel, UK Trade & Investment, Yousendit, A Productions, Arolfini, Fed
Ex, Ibis Hotel, ITFC, jlt Productions, NFTS, Premier Inn, T Shirt & Sons Ltd, Tijuana,
Pixillion, Visual Impact, Wogans Coffee, Wonky Films and YHA.

Media Partners are: Film Star, Imagine Magazine, Screen Daily/Screen International,
Shooting People, Shorts TV, Little White Lies and The Reel.

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