The 19th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival has announced its international line-up, with films starring Ben Whishaw and Alan Rickman.

A total of 225 works from 40 countries selected to be showcased in competition at the festival from September 17-22 in Bristol. This year the festival received a record 2,372 entries.

Brief Encounters

Brief Encounters will feature live action and mixed format short films from all over the world, including new short format work by a number of established British filmmakers who are returning to the festival: Daniel Mulloy (Bashk), Chris Shepherd (The Ringer), Simon Ellis (Stew and Punch) and John Smith (Dad’s Stick).

Prominent national talent is also on display in Orbit Ever After, directed by 2012 Screen Star of Tomorrow Jamie Stone and starring Mackenzie Crook; No Kaddish in Carmarthen by Jesse Armstrong (Four Lions), Aneil Karia’s Beat, starring Ben Whishaw; and Ben Ockrent’s Dust featuring Alan Rickman and Jody Whittaker.

The competition features a number of European short films that have already enjoyed success on the festival circuit, including Berlinale Golden Bear winner The Runaway (Jean-Bernard Marlin, France), Ninja Thyberg’s Pleasure (Sweden) which took the Canal+ Award at the Cannes International Critics’ Week, and the film that cleaned up at the Clérmont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival in February, Before Losing Everything (Xavier Legrand, France).

The programme entitled Visions of Modern Europe presents contemporary perspectives on a continent in crisis including Rachna Suri’s Our Lad with Aquib Khan about a Muslim soldier in the British Army.

A programme highlighting work that pushes the boundaries of filmmaking, entitled Shifting Perspectives, will include visual artist Nicolas Provost’s latest work, Tokyo Giants (Belgium).

Animated Encounters

Following his BAFTA win for The Making of Longbird, Will Anderson is in competition with his new short Sweetie & Sunshine (UK), and Tony Donoghue’s Irish Folk Furniture (Ireland), which won the Sundance prize for best short animation, will be screening.

Encounters alumni Paul Bush (Lay Bare, UK) and Theodore Ushev (Gloria Victoria, Canada) also return with new work.

In addition, there will be the world premiere of Risehigh by Adam Wells (UK) and the competition also includes Bydlo by Patrick Bouchard (Canada), which won best animated film at the Clérmont-Ferrand International Short Film Festival.

Puppet animation has two entire dedicated programmes - Power to the Puppets and No Strings Attached.

Guest of honour

To celebrate his 80th birthday and 25 years since the release of his most celebrated pioneering work, Encounters will welcome veteran animator and triple-Oscar winner Richard Williams as the Guest of Honour. 

The festival opens with a special digitally-remastered gala screening of Williams/Zemeckis’ Who Framed Roger Rabbit?.

Williams is also this year’s ‘Desert Island Flicks’ castaway where he discusses and shows clips of his all-time favourite animated films. The festival will also present a special retrospective shorts programme of Williams’ work presented in partnership with the Edinburgh International Film Festival.  

In addition to the festival’s awards, contenders will be in the running for nomination for the top short film and animation accolades to which Encounters is a gateway from the BAFTAs and European Film Awards to the Ocars.