Encounters Film Festival stages one of the world’s leading international competitions for short film, animation and immersive moving image work. The international competition is an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards; the Academy Awards®, BAFTAs and the European Film Awards.

Our mission is to provide an international platform for new and emerging talent in filmmaking. For over a quarter of a century Encounters Film Festival has welcomed guests from all around the world, connecting filmmakers with the wider industry, our wonderful audiences and, of course, each other. These human interactions have always been at the heart of our film festival but now also sadly present the greatest threat to health. 

After a great deal of consideration, and in consultation with our partners, sponsors and funders, we have come to the decision that this year’s festival cannot take its usual physical form. Instead we have an opportunity to put all our energy into crafting an alternative vision of the festival, one that places its complete focus on the films and filmmakers in competition, but one that will mostly take place online.

Important information for submitters about this special online edition of the festival:
- There is no impact to the selection process, all submissions will still be watched and considered by our panel of industry professionals and short film specialists.
- The competition will be judged, as ever, by a jury of highly regarded industry professionals .
- Films in competition will continue to be eligible for the world’s leading awards (including BAFTA, The Academy Awards and the European Film Academy Awards).
- We will award prizes in the usual categories.
- Any filmmakers selected for this year’s competition will receive complimentary Filmmaker Passes when the physical festival returns in 2021.

Whilst we cannot seek to replicate every aspect of the physical festival online, we do believe that we can create an important platform for the films and filmmakers selected in competition this year, and we hope that you will choose to continue on this journey with us. 

International Grand Prix:
- Brief Encounters Grand Prix for live action shorts
- Animated Encounters Grand Prix for animated shorts
- Immersive Encounters Grand Prix

The Grand Prix winners are considered to be the best in their category by our international jury.
The winning Brief Encounters and Animated Encounters films are both eligible for Academy Awards® nominations and each receive a £2000 cash prize.
The Immersive Encounters Grand Prix has a cash prize of £2000.

Best of British Awards:
- Best of British Live Action Award
- Best of British Animation Award
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.

Further prizes include:
Each of which receive a £500 cash prize.

Thursday 26th March 2020 – Regular Deadline
Thursday 7th May 2020 – Late Deadline
Thursday 4th June 2020 – Final Deadline

Please note - all submissions are final and there are no refunds.

1. Encounters Festivals Ltd is a not for profit registered charity that delivers the annual festival and all other yearly activity under the Encounters banner.
2. The 2020 festival competition takes place online in September.
3. 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 their selection teams, 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.

4. 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.
5. 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.
6. Films must have been completed after 1st January 2019 with a maximum duration of 30 minutes including credits.
7. 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.
8. Films that have appeared in guest programmes at previous editions and completed after 1st January 2019 are still eligible to submit.
9. Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status, including online.

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

11. Entry fees contribute to the viewing and administration of the submission process, and as such bear no relation to the festival’s selection decisions. Reduced rates for multiple entries are offered, please email submissions@encounters.film
12. Reduced rates cannot be applied retrospectively so must be sought before the films have been submitted.
13. Encounters may accept submissions through a number of submission platforms (including but not limited to FilmFreeway) but please ensure you only submit your film once. There are no refunds for duplicate submissions.
14. The cost of submitting a film to the festival for 2020 remains at £20 for Regular entries, £25 for Late entries and £40 for Final entries.
15. 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)

16. Entries created within UK educational institutions are eligible for the UK Student Award. You may be asked to provide evidence that you were a student in UK education at the time of making the film.

17. Please make sure you select the correct category - there are no refunds for UK Student films submitted into categories with higher entry fees.
18. If you are submitting from a college/university into the main competition it is strongly recommended that you submit your films collectively as an institute to receive a multiple entry discount.

19. Applicants may enter as many films as they wish. Please note each entry requires a separate submission. Discounts 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: submissions@encounters.film
21. We do not, in any way, wish to discourage an entry so please contact us if you have other questions.

22. It is the submitter’s responsibility to ensure that the submitted film is viewable by the festival. Unwatchable submissions may be disqualified.
23. 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.
24. All festival entries may be stored in the festival archive and used for research and educational purposes. Encounters will never use a film without permission.

25. 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).
26. Eligibility for certain awards will be ascertained from the information received at the point of submission (e.g. country of production.)

27. 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.
28. Encounters is also accredited as a nominating festival for the European Film Academy.
29. Encounters is also a BAFTA Qualifying festival for the British Academy of Film and Television Arts (BAFTA) short film and animation awards.

30. 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.

31. ALL programming selections are at the discretion of the festival curation team and their decision is FINAL.
32. ALL selection decisions will be communicated in July. For reasons of confidentiality ALL decisions can ONLY be communicated to the submitter of the film. Please therefore ensure that the contact information included in your submission is correct and checked regularly.
32. Due to the large number of submissions that the festival receives, we are unable to give comments on individual films or offer feedback for unsuccessful entries.

Following our announcement on 16th April 2020, this year's competition screenings will take place online. We are currently working through the detail of this and more information will be available as soon as we have it.

38. 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.
39. Encounters reserves the right to include your film in screenings to promote the festival.

40. By agreeing to proceed with your submission you are agreeing to these Terms and Conditions. Entry of a film is binding and implies acceptance of these regulations.
41. In the event of disagreement concerning the interpretation of the regulations, the interpretation of the festival will take precedence.
42. Failure to comply with these Terms and Conditions may result in the submission being disqualified.
43. These regulations are subject to change without prior notice.

Overall Rating

    October 2020
  • Thanks so much for screening my film isle of Chair. The experience of this year's online edition was amazing! Very honoured to be in with everyone.

    October 2020
  • Thank you Encounters Film Festival !

    October 2020
  • Marco Augelli

    Encounters was a great festival! Wonderful people, made us feel welcome and connected, despite the limits of an online edition. Thank you!

    October 2020
  • We had such a fantastic experience taking our film Casual Terms to and being part of Encounters film festival. The festival Director and team were constantly striving to make the online platforms clear, easy to navigate and suit everyone's needs. There were many opportunities for networking and exploring the content behind the films. I watched so many films of quality and emotional impact. I cannot rate this festival and organisational team highly enough. Thanks.

    October 2020