|Confirming such strategic support is an affirmation of Encounters’ position as one of the most outstanding short film and animation events on the international film industry scene, and puts a spotlight on this key event within Bristol’s annual cultural calendar.
The festival is now taking place earlier in the year (18 - 23 September in 2012), a move which will reinforce its status as the leading UK gateway for the world’s most prestigious short film awards, being a qualifying festival for the BAFTAs, Oscars®, European Film Awards and Cartoon d’Or. The change of dates also allows the festival to develop further partnerships with other local events, such as Brisfest which will cross over with Encounters on the weekend of the 22-23 September this year. In addition, being during a warmer month means that the new edition of the outdoor Solar Cinema Tour in local parks will be better integrated within the festival’s main programme.
The BFI and MEDIA funding comes alongside continued grants from important regional and local supporters Creative England and Bristol City Council. The news arrives at a crucial moment, enabling the festival to stabilise a budget which - as for many other organisations - has recently been impacted by the reduction of private sponsorship opportunities.
This is a huge show of confidence in the festival in 2012, a key year for the film industry in the UK and Europe, with the BFI’s nationwide consultation of its Future Plan for Film 2012-2017 and MEDIA Programme plans for the years 2014-2020 currently being negotiated across Europe, with possible big changes on the way.
Tim Cagney, Deputy CEO of the BFI, said: “Not only does Encounters attract a strong public audience, enabling it to showcase the work of new and established talent to audiences who may not otherwise be able to access short films, but crucially it also provides a robust offer for industry, bringing together filmmakers, buyers, sales agents, distributors and others for networking opportunities, workshops, masterclasses, seminars and panel discussions. We’re delighted to be supporting this year’s festival.”
Agnieszka Moody, Director of MEDIA Desk UK said: “Festivals are a very important ingredient in MEDIA recipe for supporting audiovisual industry as they contribute to enhancing Europe’s cultural and linguistic diversity, one of the main aims of the MEDIA Programme. It is fantastic to see Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in the mix of MEDIA-funded European festivals. We extend our best wishes to all of the festival goers for an enjoyable and stimulating event.”
Liz Harkman, Managing Director of Encounters Festival said: “We are very grateful to all of our supporters. Being awarded both BFI and MEDIA funding for this year is fantastic news and extremely important for Encounters. This is a clear recognition of our event’s relevance within the current film industry landscape and its dynamic contribution to supporting upcoming talent and broadening audiences for short film, both on national and European levels. We’re particularly excited to be widening our European connections in 2012, providing a high profile platform for new UK films and filmmaking talent to be positioned against their international peers.”
The festival expects to receive 2,000 submissions from over 60 countries this year, selecting over 180 works for its competitive screening programmes within the Brief (live action) and Animated (animation) strands. Two juries will present 16 internationally renowned awards with cash prizes up to £12,000.
Encounters Festival attracts a public audience of around 8,500, of all ages, presenting a dynamic and inspiring range of work which is showcased well beyond the cinemas, at pop-up screenings, music festivals, schools, a Big Top Circus Tent and the Solar Cinema Tour. In 2012 there will be a Focus on Finland and ground breaking stereoscopic discoveries from 1930s Russia amongst a programme full of events that will cross all creative forms such as film, art, animation, performance, gaming and music.
Industry presence at the event is also strong, providing networking opportunities for local filmmakers, animators and creatives with international buyers, sales agents, distributors and other professionals. Workshops, masterclasses, seminars and panel discussions on future trends aim to create a hotbed of talent development, alongside a Shorts2Features section for first and second features and the Future Encounters strand for 10 selected upcoming film talents.
The Encounters 18th Short Film and Animation Festival Call for Entries is open until 6 June 2012 for live action and animated shorts of all genres up to 30 minutes in length. DepicT!, Watershed’s super-short filmmaking competition as part of Encounters, is accepting submissions until 9 July 2012.