Due to ongoing travel and venue restrictions the 2021 festival will take place online.

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.


- Brief Encounters Grand Prix for live action shorts
- Animated Encounters Grand Prix for animated shorts
- Immersive Encounters Grand Prix for XR/VR/AR experiences

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.

The UK Student Award winner is considered to the best film created within a UK educational institution by our jury of industry experts. Films selected for the UK Student Award may be eligible for the Student Academy Awards® and the award carries a cash prize of £500.

Further prizes may include:
UK & International Audience Awards
Children’s Jury
Deaf Shorts Award


Monday 29th March 2021 – Regular Deadline
Monday 31st May 2021 – Late Deadline
Monday 14th June 2021 – Final Deadline

All submissions are final and there are no refunds. 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.

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.

Due to the interruption caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, Encounters is extending the window of eligibility by 12 months meaning that films completed after 1st January 2019 will be eligible for the 2021 festival. The usual maximum duration of 30 minutes (including credits) continues to apply. Encounters Festival does not require any premiere status, including online.

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 festival’s discretion. Films that have appeared in guest programmes at previous editions and completed after 1st January 2019 are still eligible to submit.

By submitting the film the applicant confirms that they possess all rights necessary for the screening of the submitted film at this film festival. 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.

ALL programming selections are at the discretion of the festival curation team and their decision is FINAL.

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. Please make sure you select the correct category - there are no refunds for UK Student films submitted into categories with higher entry fees.

Overall Rating
  • Laura Tunbridge

    Really thrilled to have Dragged Up be a part of Encounters this year. It's a brilliant festival that showcases some incredible films. I really hope to be a part of it again in the future!

    October 2021
  • tim grabham

    Encounters is a fantastic festival to be part of and I am delighted to have had a number of my short films selected over the last few years. It feels like I am part of the Encounters extended family, and the personal engagement, positivity, thoughtful programming and networking is what I hope for from a festival experience. Super recommended.

    October 2021
  • Amazing festival. Quality programme and interesting Q&As. Thanks for selecting 'On The Surface' to be part of it.

    October 2021
  • Werner Vivier

    Amazing festival! By far the best experience I've had as a filmmaker. Can't wait to be back next year, hopefully!

    November 2020

    October 2020