Encounters Widens The Lens For Its 22nd Edition

New stories. New perspectives. New viewpoints. Encounters is widening the lens in 2016.

Located in the attractive Watershed complex in one of Britain’s cooles city Bristol, the festival begun as the one-off Short Encounters in 1995. Except it wasn’t quite the one-off – Short Encounters became Encounters and has kept growing and growing ever since. Still a showcase for outstanding short films, the festival is Oscar-qualifying and also boasts qualifying status for BAFTA, the European Film Awards and the Cartoon d’Or. With its Cartoon d’Or qualifying status, animation filmmakers should keep a particular eye on the festival and its special section for animated shorts.

The Late Deadline is upcoming on FilmFestivalLife. So, we felt it was the perfect time to meet with their Festival Director Rich Warren to find out more about the festival, from their new category ‘Widening the Lens’, to their focus on new talent, to a particularly impressive filmmaker success story from Poland…

Encounters Film Festival Photo Credit: JonCraig.co.uk

Andrew Wilkin, FilmFestivalLife: Is there anything new this edition that filmmakers should know?

Rich Warren: Yes, we have been using two additional submission platforms this year. Opening up our submissions means we can expand our global reach to filmmakers in countries that haven’t been as strong on submissions in the past. In terms of programming, we have our new ‘Widening the Lens’ strand – our intention with this is to present alternative stories, viewpoints and characters from minority groups. The strand includes screenings and discussions examining Disability, LGBTQ, Gender and BAME (black, Asian and minority ethnic) representation on screen. If you’re a filmmaker and think that your film works for Widening the Lens, submit it now!

Do you have any advice for filmmakers before they submit to your festival?

We’re looking for films with big stories, and bold ideas. We’re open to every genre, it just has to be under 30 minutes.

Also, it sounds boring, but please read the T&C’s before submitting. 90% of the questions filmmakers have about submitting to Encounters are answered there.

Encounters © JonCraig.co.uk

What qualities are Encounters looking for in a filmmaker?

Someone who can tell a story, present an exciting idea, and have fun with it. The best films don’t always come from shooting on the most expensive equipment. We are always looking for emerging new talent.

Are there any particular success stories from Encounters that you are proud of?

Yes there are a few, but one of our festival alumni stands out, Polish director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, screened her short film HANOI WARSAW at Encounters 2010 where she won Best Short from the European Film Academy. Katarzyna then went onto make her first feature film FLYING BLIND through Creative England’s low budget iFeatures programme – all of which happened in Bristol after her first Encounters screening.

Leading on from the story of Katarzyna Klimkiewicz, a lot of filmmakers see shorts as a “stepping stone” to longer features. Do you think short films are just a precursor to feature films?

Short film is an art form in its own right. Although the majority of filmmakers want to progress to making feature films, shorts are a good way for filmmakers to cut their teeth and experiment. Very rarely do filmmakers go straight into directing features, first they must prove their ability to make short film.

Why should filmmakers submit via FFL?

Filmmakers should submit via FFL because it’s a straightforward, easy to use platform, and has access to the best film festivals all over the world – like Encounters! Submit your film now before May 2nd for 2016.

Thanks Rich! 

Q& A at the Encounters Film Festival Photo Credit: JonCraig.co.uk

Rich Warren
Encounters Short Film and Animation Film Festival
20-25 September, 2016
Bristol, United Kingdom

Submit to Encounters on FilmFestivalLife:


Late Deadline: May 02, 2016

Read more FilmFestivalLife stories:

:: 7 Essential Tips to Make the Most of your Film Festival Submissions
:: Glasgow’s Matt Lloyd: Festivals are no longer the Gatekeepers for Emerging Talents

Read more of Andrew’s articles



Andrew Wilkin

Andrew Wilkin is the Client and Community Support Coordinator at FFL. His editorial background has involved working at unlike. His film experience has included a position at moviepilot. Reach him at andrew@filmfestivallife.com