Celebrate, Showcase, Inspire

Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival is the UK’s longest running competitive short film and animation festival. It presents one of the world’s best-known showcases and meeting points for emerging talent, and seeks to promote the importance of short film as a means to develop the next generation of filmmakers and animators. Encounters is also a gateway to the world’s most prestigious short film and animation awards: the BAFTAs, the Oscars®, the European Film Awards and the Cartoon d'Or.


The festival began life in 1995 as Brief Encounters - originally envisioned as a ‘one-off' short film event, to mark the centenary of cinema. It proved so successful that it became an annual attraction - and has expanded year on year ever since. Animated Encounters came along in 2001, to celebrate and showcase the talent, creativity, technology and skills that make animation such a popular and successful film form worldwide. This younger sibling has also enjoyed a rapid rise to global prominence, as demonstrated by its current status as UK representative for the prestigious European Cartoon d'Or.

Originally the two festivals were held at separate times of the year, until united in 2006 under the Encounters Short Film Festival banner to record-breaking effect. The next 3 years saw the festival grow from strength to strength. 2010 saw the return of Animated Encounters and the division of the competition programmes into three strands; Animated Encounters, dedicated to showcasing short animated films, Brief Encounters which today provides a platform for live action and mixed format short films, and DepicT!, a Watershed project for the competition of ninety second short films.

In December 2010, Encounters became a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards Short Film Category. Then during March 2011, Encounters announced a new partnership with the European Film Academy Short Film Initiative, becoming a member of the elite circle of 15 European festivals that present the nominations for the European Film Academy Short Film Awards. Encounters is now the leading UK gateway to the world’s most prestigious short film and animation awards, also including the BAFTAs and the Cartoon d'Or.

Highlights from the most recent edition of the festival include director Bruce Robinson (Withnail & I, The Rum Diary), animator John K (The Ren & Stimpy Show), director and producer duo Carol Morley and Cairo Cannon (Dreams of a Life, Edge), cinematography masterclass with Stuart Harris and Brian Tufano BSC (Trainspotting, Adulthood, Kidulthood) plus the Vintage Mobile Cinema and a Pop up cinema. Previous guests at the festival have included Andy Serkis, Andrea Arnold, Jeremy Brock, John Coates, Paddy Considine, Mark Kermode, Richard Eyre, Henry LaBounta, Peter Lord, Phill Jupitus, Tim Minchin and Frank Cottrell Boyce.