24th Annual

Encounters Festival

September 25, 2018 to September 30, 2018

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Encounters Festivals Ltd
1 Unity Street
Bristol UK BS1 5HH
United Kingdom
Phone: +44 (0)117 929 9188

CLOSED FOR THE SEASON • Information may be outdated. Add this event to your Watch List and set a Remind-Me if you want to be notified when the next Call For Entries is posted.

Live Action Short Films
Encounters accept short films from all over the world completed in 2017 and 2018, under 30 minutes in length from every genre: live action drama, documentary, experimental and music video. Encounters does NOT have a premiere policy.
Encounters accept animations from all over the world completed in 2017 and 2018, under 30 minutes in length from every genre: drama, documentary, experimental and music video. We do NOT have a premiere policy.
VR 360-degree Films
The Encounters 360-degree VR cinema is the focus point for the Immersive Encounters programme strand allowing audiences to simultaneously experience 360° filmmaking in a safe, facilitated environment, and placing the focus on the content rather than the technology.


Encounters is the home for new and emerging talent. Providing opportunities for filmmakers, animators and moving image creatives through exhibiting brave, new and innovative work.


Encounters Festival presents one of the world’s leading International Competitions for short film and animation, and is an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards; BAFTAs, European Film Awards and The Academy Awards®.

Connecting industry and audiences, the festival celebrates the creativity, diversity and impact of short form content.

Encounters is the UK’s leading competitive international showcase of short and animated content and is accredited to three major awards (BAFTA, European Film Academy, and Academy Awards). During the 6-day event audiences are introduced to new and emerging talent from across the globe through in excess of ninety events including screenings, masterclasses, panel discussions and workshops. Encounters also provides an opportunity for creatives to share their work, develop their practice and network with one another and members of the industry.

The festival discovers, supports and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, and a unique meeting place for the industry.

Encounters delivers year round activity as a way of expanding audiences locally, developing talent through concise activity and extending the brand and reputation of the festival nationally and internationally. This is done through working with partners and other cultural organisations and forms a key part of their audience development strategy.

The festival began in 1995 as Brief Encounters a one-off event to mark the centenary of cinema, it proved successful so a decision was made to create an annual event. In 2001 Animated Encounters was set up as a separate festival to run 6 months prior to Brief Encounters. In 2006 the two festivals united as Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival.


Dave Taylor-Matthews (Operations Manager); Rich Warren (Festival Director)


• Submissions are open to short films from every genre including animation, documentary, drama, experimental, music or artist film.

• Films must have been completed after 1st January 2017.

• Films must be no longer than 30 minutes including credits.

• Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status.

• If the original language of dialogue in the film is not English, the preview and screening copy must be subtitled in English.

• All films must be available in 35mm print or DCP file for screening at the festival. The Festival can create a DCP file for you from a Pro-Res (or similar high quality video format) file but this may incur a fee.


Encounters has teamed up with Withoutabox to provide an online submissions service. To guide you through the process of submitting work to the festival, here’s our handy how-to, in 7 steps.


Take the time to read the full terms and conditions here. You will find most of the answers you’re looking for. Plus in order to submit, you’ll have to agree to them.


Once you register all of your film details with Withoutabox you’ll be able to submit it to lots of wonderful festivals – including Encounters.


There are loads of festivals to submit to on Withoutabox; look for the Encounters logo and make that we're your first port of call.


Make sure your film is entered into the correct category to maximise its award winning potential: (1) Live Action Short Film, (2) Animation or (3) 360-degree Film.


If your film is selected, your information will be used for our printed catalogue and also all online listings. Please ensure that this is accurate at time of submission, including Title, Director, Producer, Length, Country of production and additional Cast and Crew.


Complete the submission and we'll be in touch towards the end of July to let you know either way if you're submission is successful.


1. Encounters Festival presents a globally recognised International Competition for short film and animation with the Animated Encounters, Brief Encounters and Immersive Encounters Competitions together forming the heart of one of the world’s best-known showcases and meeting points for new and established filmmaking talent.
2. Encounters Festivals Ltd is a not for profit registered charity that delivers the annual festival and all other yearly activity under the Encounters banner.
3. The 2018 festival takes place in Bristol, UK, between 25 – 30 September.
4. The final selection of all films presented at the festival and their placement in the programme is the responsibility of the Short Film Programmer and the Animation Programmer with the assistance of pre-selectors, and the process is overseen by the Festival Director. The organisation of the event and programming of all other non-competitive elements is the responsibility of the core festival team.

5. The festival is open to short films of all production techniques, including animation, documentary, drama, experimental or artist film and hybrid work from low to high budgets.
6. The primary contact completing the submission process must be authorised to submit the film for consideration including permission from a distributor or sales agent representing the film and must have obtained necessary permissions for the inclusion of copyrighted music and/or images within the films. With this submission, the applicant confirms that they possess all rights necessary for the screening of the submitted film at this film festival.
7. Films must have been completed on or after 1st January 2017 with a maximum duration of 30 minutes including credits (except for certain awards which require a shorter duration).
8. Films previously submitted for competition to past editions of the festival are not eligible for re-submission, unless withdrawn prior to programme announcement or at the festivals discretion.
9. Films that have appeared in guest programmes at previous editions and completed on or after 1st January 2017 are still eligible to submit.
10. Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status.

11. Before you can submit your film you will be asked to register your contact information and film details with our submission host Withoutabox.
These details will only be shared with Encounters.

12. There is a submission fee to enter your films to Encounters. These costs equate to the viewing and administration of the submission process. Reduced rates for multiple entries are offered, (see 19-21).
13. Encounters does not have the capability to apply refunds. Discounts and waivers must be sought before the films have been submitted.
14. The costs of submitting a film to the festival for 2018 remain at £20 for Early Bird submissions, £25 for standard submissions and £40 for late submissions
15. A separate application is required for each film submission. For multiple entries, see information in items 19-21.
16. The submission fee is only usually waived for single entries if the applicant resides in a least economically developed country as defined by the UN (for a list of countries please see: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/publication/ldc_list.pdf) and cannot afford to pay western fees.

17. Entries created within educational institutions are accepted, (see below).
18. If you are submitting from a college/university into the main competition it is strongly recommend that you submit your films collectively as an institute to receive a multiple entry discount, (see below).

19. Applicants may enter as many films as they wish – if multiple entries are required please contact the festival office before you submit your films for instructions. Please note each entry requires a separate upload. Multiple discounts and refunds cannot be applied retrospectively after the films have already been submitted.
20. For educational institutions, film institutes, distributors or filmmakers who wish to submit multiple entries, special discounted rates are available. The festival relies heavily on submission fees to be able to operate. We are aware that some educational institutions, film institutes and distributors struggle with this payment, particularly regarding multiple entries, and as a result we offer discounts. For a multiple entry discount, please contact: info@encounters-festival.org.uk
21. We do not, in any way, wish to discourage an entry and further discounts may be negotiated.

22. Withoutabox allows you to directly upload your film as a digital file or to provide a link to a secure Vimeo page once your registration details have been completed. Submitting to Encounters via Withoutabox does not make your film available online to the public.
23. Please ensure that your upload adheres to the specifications supplied via the submission platforms. It is the submitter’s responsibility to ensure that the film uploaded/linked is viewable by the festival. Unwatchable submissions may be disqualified.
24. Films that are submitted directly to the festival will not be considered for selection, it is up to the applicant to ensure that the film is uploaded and submitted via Withoutabox. The festival is unable to return any screeners.
25. All films that are successfully selected for competition will be available within our Audio Visual Access (AVA) archive terminals. This library of selected films is only available via secure AVA computer terminals in selected locations around Bristol and during the festival week will be promoted to and accessed by Festival Programmers, Distributors, Buyers, Commissioners and Sales Agents. The primary contact at point of submission will be published in the AVA next to the film unless a distributor is identified.
26. Please ensure all information entered with your submission at the point of submission is accurate and entered as you would like it to appear in print (i.e. spell-checked, correctly translated and grammatically correct). Your submission information including, but not limited to, director, length, genre, country of production and crew and cast information will be printed in the festival catalogue. By submitting your film you are confirming all information is accurate and suitable for print.
27. All festival entries may be stored in the festival archive and used for research and educational purposes. Encounters will never use a film that permission has not been granted for.

28. The festival is split into the following competitive strands: Animated Encounters (animation only), Brief Encounters (live action short films) and Immersive Encounters (360-degree films).
29. Eligibility for certain awards will be ascertained from the information received at the point of submission (e.g., country of production.)
30. The awards include:
Brief Encounters Grand Prix - €2,500 prize
Animated Encounters Grand Prix - €2,500 prize
European Live Action Award - €1,000 prize
European Animation Award - €1,000 prize
Chris Collins Best of British Award – Live Action - £1,000 prize
Best of British Award - Animation - £1,000 prize

Immersive Encounters Grand Prix - €1,000 prize
All awards are subject to change.

31. Encounters is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®. The Brief Encounters Grand Prix & Animated Encounters Grand Prix winning films will be eligible for consideration for the Academy Awards® (If a documentary is selected for the Brief Encounters Grand Prix award unfortunately it cannot compete at the Academy Awards due to their eligibility criteria. It will still be eligible for all other aspects of the prize).
32. Encounters is also accredited as a nominating festival for the European Film Academy.
33. The festival qualifies as a ‘recognised festival’ for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) short film and animation awards.

34. If the original language of dialogue or text featured in the film is not English, the preview and screening copy must be subtitled in English.

35. A film’s success is dependent not on its budget or length, but on its core vision and the creativity/efficiency with which it communicates that vision. Programmes consist of these diverse visions assembled in an order and rhythm so that even in contrast each is mutually complimentary. We reserve the right to view as much of the film as we deem necessary to make a decision on its selection.
36. Successful entrants will be notified of their inclusion in the festival by the end of July 2018. Those entrants who have not been successful will also receive email notification at this time.
37. ALL programming selections are at the discretion of the festival curation team and their decision is FINAL.
38. After selection, notification letters and any festival correspondence will be sent electronically to the submitter; please provide an email address that is checked regularly and ensure that the user account info@encounters-festival.org.uk is added to your address book.
39. Due to the large number of submissions that the festival receives, we are unable to give comments on individual films prior to submission or offer feedback for unsuccessful entries.

40. If your entry is chosen for the programme, you will be asked to supply DCP or a 35mm print for screening at the festival.
41. If you have neither of these formats the festival can create a DCP for you from a Pro-Res (or similar high quality video format) file. If you elect to use this service a fee may apply.
42. There are no fees for participating in the festival. Participants are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for screenings at the festival.

43. The festival creates Touring Programmes from films within the competition, your permission will be sought if your film is selected for any of these programmes.
44. These programmes may also include some financial reimbursement and be subject to separate agreements.
45. It is possible that your film may be selected for a touring programme only and not the competitive programme.

46. Stills and clips of selected films (under 10% of the total length of the film*) will be used for Encounters publications, festival trailer, press and TV coverage. Encounters reserves the right to include your film in up to four preview screenings to promote the festival.
47. The festival will publish the email for a previously agreed contact (usually the Primary Contact) and/or Distributor on the AVA and in the festival catalogue.

48. You will be asked to upload a still when submitting your film online. Specifications: JPEG (no TIFFS please), approx 700 pixels wide, landscape preferred. Please do NOT compress images.
49. Additional material such as press packs and production information are not required at this stage and should not be included.

50. At the point of payment on your submission you will be asked if you have read and agreed with the Terms and Conditions laid out in this document. By agreeing to proceed with your submission you are agreeing to these Terms and Conditions and your application can then be processed. Entry of a film is binding and implies acceptance of these regulations.
51. Please ensure all details, descriptions and information is as accurate as possible at time of submission. The information submitted to the submission platform will be used both in the online programme and in the printed catalogue, and by submitting your information you are confirming that the information is correct and authorised to be published if your film is selected. If requested later amendments will be made if possible, but this is not guaranteed.
52. In the event of disagreement concerning the interpretation of the regulations, the interpretation of the festival will take precedence.
53. Failure to comply with these Terms and Conditions may result in the submission being disqualified.
54. These regulations are subject to change without prior notice.

55. Screening copies being sent to the UK from Non-EU countries, must be accompanied by the necessary customs documentation / pro-forma invoice. When arranging delivery you must ensure that all import and export charges associated with the film are paid. It is advised that the stated value of the package is listed as being no more than 10 euros for customs purposes. Costs arising from wrongful declarations will be charged to the account of the sender.
56. The cost of dispatching the print or screening copy to Encounters is to be paid by the sender. The cost of shipping the print or screening copy from the festival will be paid for by Encounters. If the print or screening copy is sent via a third party, the entrant should inform the third party of the freight regulations of Encounters.
57. It is the responsibility of the owner of the screening copy to ensure adequate insurance coverage for both inward and outward shipment. During the festival, all screening copies are insured by the festival.
58. Film prints and screening copies should arrive at the festival office on or before 10 August 2018, unless otherwise agreed with the festival.
59. The return destination for the screening copies, or change thereof, must be specified before the end of the festival, otherwise the festival reserves the right to return the screening copy to the contact address as specified during submission.

60. The festival would like to arrange for as many filmmakers in competition as possible to visit the festival. Regrettably, no matter how much we would like to cover the hotel and transport costs, the festival is restricted by budget constraints and support is prioritised for International travellers as their costs are prohibitively higher. More information will be provided to successful applicants.

*In accordance with ‘A short film festival's Code of Ethics' as drawn up by the International Short Film Conference 1995.