DreamWorks SKG, the US studio which recently struck a long-term deal with Bristol-based animation production house Aardman Animations, is sponsoring a new animation festival in the city.

The event, titled Animated Encounters (May 19-21), will include preview scenes from Aardman's highly-anticipated June release, Chicken Run, which Pathe Distribution is handling in the UK. Also in the line-up are a focus on 1970's TV classics; a round-up of new international and British films; an IMAX presentation; and a cartoon cabaret combining stand-up comedy with animation.

Festival chair Simon Cooper said: 'Bristol is the second largest centre for animation in the UK (after London), with a turnover of more than £60m annually and a huge local following.'