Into Film at the Encounters Short Film Festival

28 Sep 2016 BY Kirsten Geekie

3 mins
My Mum’s Got a Dodgy Brain still
My Mum’s Got a Dodgy Brain still

Every September Bristol becomes a hub for exciting new films and filmmakers from around the world including animators, students, and experienced award winners all vying to see the best of short film at the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival the UK's leading short film festival.

Taking over the Watershed Cinema for 6 days (20 - 25 September) Encounters screen a diverse array of programmes dedicated to showcasing new short film talent from morning till night. Bringing audiences, film industry and eager students together the festival is a vibrant celebration of the creativity, diversity and impact of short film. As a result many of the programmes and the films in them reflect current worldwide issues and often display an innovative, new approaches to filmmaking, animating and storytelling in short form.

The main highlight of the festival each year for the Into Film Programming Team are the Children's Award screenings. Back in July the team host programming workshops in Bristol with young people to put together three short film programmes on behalf of Encounters suitable for ages 7+, 11+ and 14+. After a stimulating day of watching and reviewing the resulting programmes are then premiered at the festival in September and local schools invited to watch and judge their favourite one for the Children's Award. This year each of the screenings had many of the filmmakers attending, allowing the young audiences to ask questions about how they made their films. A much-loved film from the very animal friendly 7+ programme was a sweet Czech animation about a little hedgehog lost in the snow called First Snow. The 11+ offered an array of films from Britain and around the world, the most impressive being Out of the Village, a Ghanaian set drama about a young boy and his sister surviving the Ebola epidemic. Featuring a strong line up of films under the banner I Will Survive, the most enjoyed of the 14+ programme was an intriguing French film called Ollie Boy about a skateboarder who daydreams across the city of Paris imagining himself as an African King. However, the overall winner of the Children's Award this year went to a fun, hand drawn flip-book style animation called Cat & Dog about two animals forced into friendship by their owners romance.

The Encounters Children's Award programmes will all be added to the Into Film catalogue later in the year. But while you wait, you can order and watch previous year's programmes here: 

From the wider festival programme, animated favourites included Stems, a British animation celebrating the magical process of puppet animation that won the festival's Best of British animation award. Also OS Love, a clever Swiss video art film that pokes fun at society's reliance on technology. Another Swiss film that caught the attention of the Programming team was Birdz a clever and very funny animated comedy that turn people into birds. A surprising hit was also a French animation called Blue Honey that draws attention to an extraordinary true story about pollution and endangered bees.

Comedy programme Funny Looking Shorts, lifted our spirits, in particular with a film called Fan Girl about two mega fans of Twilight actor Taylor Lautner duped into breaking into what they think is his house. Yet, it was a strand of programmes called Widening the Lens, dedicated to positive representations on screen, that offered the most engaging and affecting pieces such as extreme UK comedy horror Painkiller, a powerful Shakespeare inspired tale called Marina & Adrienne and the programmers favourite film of the festival, A Night in Tokoriki - a brilliant Romanian teen dramedy about one girl's 18th birthday at an improvised, remote disco that no one will ever forget. 

Enjoy short film? Check out our Short Film lists for PrimarySecondary. You can catch the best British short films made this year for young people at the Into Film Festival British Council Shorts Primary 2016 screenings.

Kirsten Geekie, Film Programming Manager

Kirsten Geekie, Film Curation Manager

MA (Hons) in English Literature & Film and Television Studies, University of Glasgow with a background in Film Festivals having worked for Edinburgh International Film Festival, Sheffield Doc Fest and BFI London Film Festival.

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