There are so many events happening at the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival, starting today and running until Sunday, that it might be a challenge to know just where to start. There are events galore for film professionals, but also events galore for film fans.
The festival features animation at the Arnolfini and live action at the Watershed, with a cine-sauna at The Parlour Showrooms on College Green, one-off events at the Big Top @ Creative Common and solar-powered cinema in parks across the city.
Bristol film journalist Robin Askew says that “the best advice is to start by grabbing a ticket at random for any of the multiple British and international showcases and prepare to be amazed at the breadth of talent on display in modern short filmmaking”.
If you want to be a bit more targeted in your choices, here are some events at this year’s Encounters with a Bristol connection.
In the Shorts2Features strand of the festival is the Bristol premiere of Flying Blind, made under the Bristol micro-budget feature film initiative iFeatures. Starring Helen ‘Narcissa Malfoy’ McCrory, currently getting rave reviews in new ITV drama Leaving and soon to appear in the new James Bond film Skyfall, Flying Blind is about the illicit romance between a high-flying aerospace engineer and a French-Algerian student.
Another Encounters UK premiere of a Bristol-made film is Flytopia by Karni and Saul, a mix of live action and animation adapted from a short story by Will Self, about a man who entering into a pact with all of the insects living in his house.
The three grand old men of Aardman Animations, David Sproxton, Peter Lord and Nick Park, will make a rare appearance on stage together at a gala event where they will be interviewed by Radio Four’s Francine Stock from The Film Programme, for a discussion spanning from Aardman’s beginnings through to its standing as one of the most successful and respected animation studios of all time. Aardman will also be presenting a retrospective programme of animated works, as well as an exhibition of sets, props and models at the Arnolfini.
Best of the South West screenings showcase many works from Bristol. One film to look out for is The Claw (left), directed by Nathan Hughes and featuring Peta Dennis, who played Pinocchio at the Tobacco Factory’s 2010 Christmas show. Best of the South West jury members will be Bristol mayor hopefuls Geoff Gollop of the Conservatives and Daniella Radice of the Green Party, who will be forced to agree.
Visit www.encounters-festival.org.uk for the full programme of events.