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The Bristol fest celebrates its 20 years of existence with a new festival director and a new theme to move forward into the cinematic future.

The 20th edition of the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival will usher in an exciting new era for the event, celebrating 20 years of international leadership in talent development and innovation, taking place in Bristol from 16th to 21st September 2014.

Encounters 2014 will mark two decades of festival history and reflect the era that saw the change from analogue to digital. The celebration will look back to look forward, connecting the past to cinematic futures.

 The new festival director, Debbi Lander (Creative Programmer for the London 2012 Cultural Olympiad and Programme Director of WE PLAY, the Northwest's cultural legacy programme for the London 2012) explains her vision:

The aim of 20/20: Looking back to look forward is to shape a new vision for the festival over two editions in 2014 and 2015 that will foster greater levels of connectivity between film, technology, media and visual arts to reflect developments in the industry and society, and deliver a multi-faceted and boundary crossing film festival that operates as a platform for research, debate and exhibition of film at the intersection of industry and public.'

The festival will explore the dissolving boundaries between film, technology, media and art through current debates, live performances and cutting edge research labs.

Encounters Festival Retrospective: Celebrating the significant contribution that short film has made to cinema over the last two decades, Encounters Festival will present a retrospective of 20 specially selected films to showcase the creativity, diversity and impact of the short film. The retrospective will be screened continuously in a cinema at Watershed throughout the festival week so that audiences can drop in and watch the chosen films for free.

The retrospective is accompanied by a 20th Anniversary Publication and other special events, which will include the UK premier of the film version of Vinyl Requiem - an impressive music and film event conceived by sound artist Philip Jeck and visual artist Lol Sargent in 1992 to mark the beginning of the era that saw the change from analogue to digital.

Encounters Festival International Competition and Industry Forum: While celebrating the achievements of 20 years of Encounters, this year's festival will again present Europe's leading annual International Short Film and Animation Competition as part of its Industry Forum for film makers, animators and professionals.

The competition will exhibit over 250 new short films and animated films from around the world chosen from over 2000 submissions.

Encounters Festival winners in the three main categories will then qualify for the British Academy awards, Cartoon d'Or, European Film Awards and the Academy Awards in the USA. The award winners will be announced on Saturday 20 September during the festival weekend and the competition will culminate in a screening of the Award Winning films on Sunday 21 September.

 The Industry Forum offers three action packed days, curated around the themes of fusion, festivals and form, and will include panels, film screenings and high level international master classes with leading industry figures.

 David Sproxton, co-founder of Aadrman Animation Studios and  Chairman of Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival notes:

"Encounters originated as a one off event to mark the centenary of cinema and over the years has grown into an international success story with filmmakers represented from over 80 countries. As we enter a new era for the festival and a completely different landscape in 2014, this seems the perfect occasion to reposition the festival and celebrate its achievements to date."

Encounters Festival will take place at Bristol's scenic harbourside between 16 – 21 September 2014. The main festival venues will be Watershed and Arnolfini.


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