25th Annual

Encounters Festival

September 24, 2019 to September 29, 2019

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

DECISIONS ALREADY MADE • This event has already made decisions and notified submitters for the current cycle. Submissions are no longer being accepted.

Live Action Short Films
Encounters accepts short films from all over the world completed in 2018 and 2019, under 30 minutes in length from every genre: live action fiction, documentary, experimental and music video. Encounters does NOT have a premiere policy (including online).
Encounters accept animations from all over the world completed in 2018 and 2019, under 30 minutes in length from every genre: fiction, documentary, experimental and music video. We do NOT have a premiere policy (including online).
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.
UK Student Films - LIVE ACTION
Encounters Live Action Student Award accepts short films made by UK students completed in 2018 and 2019, under 30 minutes in length from every genre: live action fiction, documentary, experimental and music video. Encounters does NOT have a premiere policy (including online).

Please note: in order to be eligible you must be able to demonstrate that you were a student in UK education at the time of making the film. You may be asked to provide evidence.
UK Student Films - ANIMATION
Encounters Animated Student Award accepts animations made by UK students completed in 2018 and 2019, under 30 minutes in length. Encounters does NOT have a premiere policy (including online).

Please note: in order to be eligible you must be able to demonstrate that you were a student in UK education at the time of making the film. You may be asked to provide evidence.


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 (Festival Producer); 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 2018.

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

• Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status, including online.

• 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 on DCP or 35mm prints 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. UK Students may enter their films for either the UK Student Live Action or UK Student Animation award categories, for which there are reduced fees.
PLEASE NOTE: Encounters cannot recategorise your entry once you have submitted it so please make sure you select the correct category - failure to do so may result in your film being disqualified.


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 in August to let you know either way if you're submission is successful.


Thursday 28th March 2019 – Early Bird Deadline
Thursday 9th May 2019 – Regular Entry Deadline
Thursday 6th June 2019 – Final Late Entry Deadline

1. Encounters is the umbrella festival for Animated Encounters, Brief Encounters and Immersive Encounters which together present one of the world’s best-known showcases and meeting points for new and established international short film and animation 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 2019 festival takes place in Bristol, UK, between 24 – 29 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, 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 after 1st January 2018 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 after 1st January 2018 are still eligible to submit.
10. Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status, including online.

11. Encounters will not share your data with anyone without your permission. Please visit our website to review our Privacy Policy.

12. There is a submission fee to enter your films to Encounters. These fees contribute to the viewing and administration of the submission process. Our fees ensure the festival can continue to run as we are a charity and rely on this income. Reduced rates for multiple entries are offered, (see items 19-21).
13. Encounters accepts submissions through a number of submission platforms (including but not limited to Withoutabox) but please ensure you only submit your film once as we do not have the capability to apply submission fee refunds. Discounts and waivers must be sought before the films have been submitted.
14. The cost of submitting a film to the festival for 2019 remains at £20 for Early Bird, £25 for Regular 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 and cannot afford to pay western fees (for a list of countries please see: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/publication/ldc_list.pdf)

17. Entries created within educational institutions are accepted and are eligible for additional awards: UK Student Live Action Award or the UK Student Animation Award. To enter these awards please submit your film into the correct UK Student category. PLEASE NOTE: Encounters cannot recategorise your entry once you have submitted it so please make sure you select the correct category - failure to do so may result in your film being disqualified.
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. Please note each entry requires a separate upload. Multiple discounts and refunds cannot be applied retrospectively after the films have 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 however 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. Our submission platforms allow 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. Encounters guarantees that your film will never be used in anyway other to which you agree and will not be 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 the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that the film is correctly submitted via one of our submission platforms. If you are having technical problems with the submission platform you must resolve these with the platform provider – we cannot offer technical support. The festival is unable to return any screeners.
25. All films selected for competition will be screened in our video library during the festival and online for 12 months after the festival. The primary contact details given on the entry form will be published in the Festival Catalogue unless a distributor is identified. This video library may be promoted to and accessed by Festival Programmers, Distributors, Buyers, Commissioners and Sales Agents, as well as festival delegates.
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 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, VR & AR, etc).
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
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
UK Student Live Action Award - £1,000 prize
UK Student Animation Award - £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 Live Action Short and Animated Short Film categories at 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. Encounters is also a BAFTA Qualifying 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. We reserve the right to disqualify any foreign language films that do not have English subtitles.

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 complementary.
36. Successful entrants will be notified of their inclusion in the festival by the end of July 2019. 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 screenings to promote the festival.
47. The festival will publish the email for a previously agreed contact (usually the Primary Contact) and/or Distributor in the video library and festival catalogue.

48. 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.
49. Please ensure all details, descriptions and information are 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. Later amendments cannot be guaranteed.
50. In the event of disagreement concerning the interpretation of the regulations, the interpretation of the festival will take precedence.
51. Failure to comply with these Terms and Conditions may result in the submission being disqualified.
52. These regulations are subject to change without prior notice.

53. 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.
54. 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.
55. 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.
56. Film prints and screening copies should arrive at the festival office on or before 10 August 2019, unless otherwise agreed with the festival.
57. 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.

58. The festival’s aim is for all selected filmmakers to be able to attend in person, and as a result we aim to offer some accommodation support to all films selected for competition. This offer is limited in nature and more information will be provided to the selected films at the point of selection confirmation.

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