Encounters is the UK’s leading short film, animation and virtual reality festival.
The festival discovers, supports and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, and continues to be a unique meeting place for the industry.

The jam-packed programme in September presents a diverse selection of short film screenings, features, special guests, Q&As and headline events, alongside an intensive industry event programme with high level masterclasses and workshops.

At the heart of the festival lies the Encounters international competition – one of the world’s leading international competitions for short film, animation and virtual reality, and also an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards; the Academy Awards®, BAFTAs and the European Film Awards.

Connecting industry and audiences, the festival celebrates the creativity, diversity and the impact of short film.

Encounters is a charity that stands for fairness and equality. Whether showcasing the best in new and emerging talent, running events, or hiring staff, we take our commitment to fair representation seriously. We’re committed to widening the lens across all our practices, and that means whatever your background, we won’t exclude anyone based on gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, or otherwise. You’ll be welcome here.

So whether you are a filmmaker looking to launch or develop your career, an industry professional wanting to stay abreast of what’s new, or a film lover wanting to soak up the festival atmosphere by watching great films and special events, come along to the next festival for a truly inspiring week of short film celebration!

Prizes include:

- International Grand Prix

Brief Encounters Grand Prix
Animated Encounters Grand Prix
Immersive Encounters Grand Prix

The Grand Prix winners are considered to be the best in their category by our international jury – and are names to watch out for.
The winning Brief Encounters and Animated Encounters films are both eligible for Academy Awards® nominations and each receive a €2,500 cash prize.
The Immersive Encounters Grand Prix has a cash prize of €1000.

- Best of British Awards

Chris Collins Best of British Award – Live Action
Best of British Award – Animation
These awards are offered to the British films judged to be the best in all areas of production, direction and story; £1,000 cash prize.

- UK Student Awards
UK Student Award - LIVE ACTION
UK Student Award - ANIMATION
Encounters Student Awards accept short films made by UK students completed in 2018 and 2019, under 30 minutes in length. Encounters does NOT have a premiere policy (including online).
Please note: in order to be eligible for the UK Student awards you must be able to demonstrate that you were a student in UK education at the time of making the film. You may be asked to provide evidence.

Further prizes include:

€500 Cash prize
€500 Cash prize
€500 Cash prize

Thursday 28th March 2019 – Early Bird Deadline
Thursday 9th May 2019 – Regular Entry Deadline
Thursday 6th June 2019 – Final Late Entry Deadline

1. Encounters is the umbrella festival for Animated Encounters, Brief Encounters and Immersive Encounters which together present one of the world’s best-known showcases and meeting points for new and established international short film and animation talent.
2. Encounters Festivals Ltd is a not for profit registered charity that delivers the annual festival and all other yearly activity under the Encounters banner.
3. The 2019 festival takes place in Bristol, UK, between 24 – 29 September.
4. The final selection of all films presented at the festival and their placement in the programme is the responsibility of the Short Film Programmer, Animation Programmer with the assistance of pre-selectors, and the process is overseen by the Festival Director. The organisation of the event and programming of all other non-competitive elements is the responsibility of the core festival team.

5. The festival is open to short films of all production techniques, including animation, documentary, drama, experimental or artist film and hybrid work from low to high budgets.
6. The primary contact completing the submission process must be authorised to submit the film for consideration including permission from a distributor or sales agent representing the film and must have obtained necessary permissions for the inclusion of copyrighted music and/or images within the films. With this submission, the applicant confirms that they possess all rights necessary for the screening of the submitted film at this film festival.
7. Films must have been completed after 1st January 2018 with a maximum duration of 30 minutes including credits (except for certain awards which require a shorter duration).
8. Films previously submitted for competition to past editions of the festival are not eligible for re-submission, unless withdrawn prior to programme announcement or at the festivals discretion.
9. Films that have appeared in guest programmes at previous editions and completed after 1st January 2018 are still eligible to submit.
10. Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status, including online.

11. Encounters will not share your data with anyone without your permission. Please visit our website to review our Privacy Policy.

12. There is a submission fee to enter your films to Encounters. These fees contribute to the viewing and administration of the submission process. Our fees ensure the festival can continue to run as we are a charity and rely on this income. Reduced rates for multiple entries are offered, (see items 19-21).
13. Encounters accepts submissions through a number of submission platforms (including but not limited to FilmFreeway) but please ensure you only submit your film once as we do not have the capability to apply submission fee refunds. Discounts and waivers must be sought before the films have been submitted.
14. The cost of submitting a film to the festival for 2019 remains at £20 for Early Bird, £25 for Regular and £40 for Late Submissions.
15. A separate application is required for each film submission. For multiple entries, see information in items 19-21.
16. The submission fee is only usually waived for single entries if the applicant resides in a least economically developed country as defined by the UN and cannot afford to pay western fees (for a list of countries please see: https://www.un.org/development/desa/dpad/wp-content/uploads/sites/45/publication/ldc_list.pdf)

17. Entries created within educational institutions are accepted and are eligible for additional awards: UK Student Live Action Award or the UK Student Animation Award. To enter these awards please submit your film into the correct UK Student category. PLEASE NOTE: Encounters cannot recategorise your entry once you have submitted it so please make sure you select the correct category - failure to do so may result in your film being disqualified.
18. If you are submitting from a college/university into the main competition it is strongly recommend that you submit your films collectively as an institute to receive a multiple entry discount, (see below).

19. Applicants may enter as many films as they wish. Please note each entry requires a separate upload. Multiple discounts and refunds cannot be applied retrospectively after the films have been submitted.
20. For educational institutions, film institutes, distributors or filmmakers who wish to submit multiple entries, special discounted rates are available. The festival relies heavily on submission fees to be able to operate however we are aware that some educational institutions, film institutes and distributors struggle with this payment, particularly regarding multiple entries, and as a result we offer discounts. For a multiple entry discount please contact: info@encounters-festival.org.uk
21. We do not, in any way, wish to discourage an entry and further discounts may be negotiated.

22. Our submission platforms allow you to directly upload your film as a digital file or to provide a link to a secure Vimeo page once your registration details have been completed. Encounters guarantees that your film will never be used in anyway other to which you agree and will not be available online to the public.
23. Please ensure that your upload adheres to the specifications supplied via the submission platforms. It is the submitter’s responsibility to ensure that the film uploaded/linked is viewable by the festival. Unwatchable submissions may be disqualified.
24. Films that are submitted directly to the festival will not be considered for selection, it is the responsibility of the submitter to ensure that the film is correctly submitted via one of our submission platforms. If you are having technical problems with the submission platform you must resolve these with the platform provider – we cannot offer technical support. The festival is unable to return any screeners.
25. All films selected for competition will be screened in our video library during the festival. The primary contact details given on the entry form will be published in the Festival Catalogue unless a distributor is identified. This video library may be promoted to and accessed by Festival Programmers, Distributors, Buyers, Commissioners and Sales Agents, as well as festival delegates.
26. Please ensure all information entered with your submission at the point of submission is accurate and entered as you would like it to appear in print (i.e. spell-checked, correctly translated and grammatically correct). Your submission information will be printed in the festival catalogue. By submitting your film you are confirming all information is accurate and suitable for print.
27. All festival entries may be stored in the festival archive and used for research and educational purposes. Encounters will never use a film that permission has not been granted for.

28. The festival is split into the following competitive strands: Animated Encounters (animation only), Brief Encounters (live action short films) and Immersive Encounters (360-degree films, VR & AR, etc).
29. Eligibility for certain awards will be ascertained from the information received at the point of submission (e.g., country of production.)
30. The awards include:
Brief Encounters Grand Prix - €2,500 prize
Animated Encounters Grand Prix - €2,500 prize
Chris Collins Best of British Award – Live Action - £1,000 prize
Best of British Award - Animation - £1,000 prize

Immersive Encounters Grand Prix - €1,000 prize
All awards are subject to change.

31. Encounters is accredited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences®. The Brief Encounters Grand Prix & Animated Encounters Grand Prix winning films will be eligible for consideration for the Live Action Short and Animated Short Film categories at the Academy Awards®. If a documentary is selected for the Brief Encounters Grand Prix award unfortunately it cannot compete at the Academy Awards due to their eligibility criteria. It will still be eligible for all other aspects of the prize.
32. Encounters is also accredited as a nominating festival for the European Film Academy.
33. Encounters is also a BAFTA Qualifying festival for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) short film and animation awards.

34. If the original language of dialogue or text featured in the film is not English, the preview and screening copy must be subtitled in English. We reserve the right to disqualify any foreign language films that do not have English subtitles.

35. A film’s success is dependent not on its budget or length, but on its core vision and the creativity/efficiency with which it communicates that vision. Programmes consist of these diverse visions assembled in an order and rhythm so that even in contrast each is mutually complementary.
36. Successful entrants will be notified of their inclusion in the festival by the end of July 2019. Those entrants who have not been successful will also receive email notification at this time.
37. ALL programming selections are at the discretion of the festival curation team and their decision is FINAL.
38. After selection, notification letters and any festival correspondence will be sent electronically to the submitter; please provide an email address that is checked regularly and ensure that the user account info@encounters-festival.org.uk is added to your address book.
39. Due to the large number of submissions that the festival receives, we are unable to give comments on individual films prior to submission or offer feedback for unsuccessful entries.

40. If your entry is chosen for the programme, you will be asked to supply DCP or a 35mm print for screening at the festival.
41. If you have neither of these formats the festival can create a DCP for you from a Pro-Res (or similar high quality video format) file. If you elect to use this service a fee may apply.
42. There are no fees for participating in the festival. Participants are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for screenings at the festival.

43. The festival creates Touring Programmes from films within the competition, your permission will be sought if your film is selected for any of these programmes.
44. These programmes may also include some financial reimbursement and be subject to separate agreements.
45. It is possible that your film may be selected for a touring programme only and not the competitive programme.

46. Stills and clips of selected films (under 10% of the total length of the film*) will be used for Encounters publications, festival trailer, press and TV coverage. Encounters reserves the right to include your film in screenings to promote the festival.
47. The festival will publish the email for a previously agreed contact (usually the Primary Contact) and/or Distributor in the video library and festival catalogue.

48. By agreeing to proceed with your submission you are agreeing to these Terms and Conditions and your application can then be processed. Entry of a film is binding and implies acceptance of these regulations.
49. Please ensure all details, descriptions and information are as accurate as possible at time of submission. The information submitted to the submission platform will be used both in the online programme and in the printed catalogue, and by submitting your information you are confirming that the information is correct and authorised to be published if your film is selected. Later amendments cannot be guaranteed.
50. In the event of disagreement concerning the interpretation of the regulations, the interpretation of the festival will take precedence.
51. Failure to comply with these Terms and Conditions may result in the submission being disqualified.
52. These regulations are subject to change without prior notice.

53. Screening copies being sent to the UK from Non-EU countries, must be accompanied by the necessary customs documentation / pro-forma invoice. When arranging delivery you must ensure that all import and export charges associated with the film are paid. It is advised that the stated value of the package is listed as being no more than 10 euros for customs purposes. Costs arising from wrongful declarations will be charged to the account of the sender.
54. The cost of dispatching the print or screening copy to Encounters is to be paid by the sender. The cost of shipping the print or screening copy from the festival will be paid for by Encounters. If the print or screening copy is sent via a third party, the entrant should inform the third party of the freight regulations of Encounters.
55. It is the responsibility of the owner of the screening copy to ensure adequate insurance coverage for both inward and outward shipment. During the festival, all screening copies are insured by the festival.
56. Film prints and screening copies should arrive at the festival office on or before 10 August 2019, unless otherwise agreed with the festival.
57. The return destination for the screening copies, or change thereof, must be specified before the end of the festival, otherwise the festival reserves the right to return the screening copy to the contact address as specified during submission.

58. The festival’s aim is for all selected filmmakers to be able to attend in person, and as a result we aim to offer some accommodation support to all films selected for competition. This offer is limited in nature and more information will be provided to the selected films at the point of selection confirmation.

*In accordance with ‘A short film festival's Code of Ethics' as drawn up by the International Short Film Conference 1995.