An update on submissions…

The 26th edition of Encounters Film Festival is planned to take place 20th - 26th September 2020. Please be assured that the Encounters team are still working towards delivering the full festival programme of screenings, industry events, networking and masterclasses across these dates.

Due to the uncertainty surrounding the development of COVID-19, there is of course, a chance that mass gatherings will be inadvisable even in September. Encounters are already looking into new ways in which we can support filmmakers and create opportunities for their work to be seen by industry professionals and short film fans, should this be required.

The screening and selection process for the 2020 programme has begun, and our programming team are working hard to put together our fantastic international competition programmes. Submissions for the festival this year remain open, please head to FilmFreeway to submit your film.

At this time, the team wish to reassure all filmmakers that we fully intend for Encounters Film Festival to happen in 2020.

Encounters is the UK’s leading celebration of new and emerging talent working in the fields of short film, animation and immersive moving image.

The festival discovers, supports and develops new talent in filmmaking, providing a platform for emerging and established filmmakers from around the world, and a unique meeting place for the industry.

At the heart of the festival lies the Encounters international competition – 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.

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 programme with high level masterclasses and workshops.

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, meaning whatever your background, we won’t exclude anyone based on gender, race, ability, sexual orientation, or otherwise. You’ll be welcome here.

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 takes place in Bristol, UK, between 19 – 26 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
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:

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:
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.

33. If your entry is chosen for the programme, you will be asked to supply DCP or a 35mm print for screening at the festival.
34. 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.
35. There are no fees for participating in the festival. Participants are not entitled to claim rental or other fees for screenings at the festival.
36. Film prints and screening copies should arrive at the festival office on or before 10 August 2020, unless otherwise agreed with the festival.
37. The return destination for the screening copies, or change thereof, must be specified before the festival, otherwise the festival reserves the right to return the screening copy to the contact address as specified during submission.

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.

44. 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.

Overall Rating
  • Aggie Ebrahimi Bazaz

    Filmmaker-friendly, tremendously respectful and hospitable festival with an outstanding international program. Thank you for inviting us to be a part!

    November 2019
  • Such a fantastic and inspiring festival. Beautifully organised, great talks and some of the best short films I've had the honour to witness. Can't recommend Encounters Film Festival highly enough.

    October 2019
  • Laura Herrero Garvin

    I could not go but it was great to have my movie screened there!

    October 2019
  • Philip Barantini

    Absolutely Wonderful! Thank you for the amazing support.

    October 2019
  • Mark Lopez

    I loved my experience with Encounters. The programming was great and the people I met were talented yet down-to-earth. I only wish Encounters was a little more involved in promoting the films on social media (ie twitter and Instagram) but that’s not a big deal.

    October 2019