Panels & Guests Set for 2006 Encounters Short Film Festival

Britain's biggest competitive short film festival, Encounters Short Film Festival (www.encounters-festival.org.uk) returns in November to Bristol's Watershed Media Centre. The event merges the Animated Encounters festival with its sister event, Brief Encounters, to jointly present some of the best of the world's cinematic shorts.

The expanded six-day film fest runs Nov. 21-26, with an Animation Industry Day on Nov. 22. The Animation Industry Day consists of two parallel strands of animation panels and workshops, for professionals and newcomers respectively. There are also crossover events, as well as screenings of new animation and a regular highlight a Desert Island Flicks event where an industry luminary selects his personal favorite animations and explains his choices. This year, the guest is Aardman co-founder Peter Lord.

The "Professional animation panels cover feature films; animation and agencies; and how to create a successful brand. The Newcomer panels give advice on gaining access to the industry and developing successful ideas, plus a storyboard masterclass with Joanna Quinn, award-winning director of BODY BEAUTIFUL, GIRLS NIGHT OUT, FAMOUS FRED and FAMILY TIES. Other guests at Encounters include animation producer Claire Jennings (WALLACE AND GROMIT: THE CURSE OF THE WERE RABBIT, FATHER AND DAUGHTER, THE BIG KNIGHTS); animation director Chris Shepherd (SILENCE IS GOLDEN, WHO I AM AND WHAT I WANT, DAD'S DEAD, BROKEN JAW); Keith Chapman, the creator of BOB THE BUILDER; and representatives from the Cartoon Network, Cosgrove Hall and Framestore.

Crossover events include a Networking lunch and an Industry Day Party. A Cartoon Network event rolls out the plans for a new development studio and previews the new Aardman-produced series, CHOP SOCKY CHOOKS. There's also a special retrospective of the work of Chris Shepherd. The following day (Nov. 23) there is an early screening of Aardman's new feature, FLUSHED AWAY.

On Nov. 25, there is the Encounters Short Film Awards & Party, where prizes totaling over £10,000 in 15 major awards are given to the best films screened at the Festival. They include the Cartoon D'Or Nomination (the British nominee for the prestigious Cartoon D'Or Award); the Cosgrove Hall Films Children's Jury Animation Award; the animate! Artist Award; the International Newcomer in Animation Award, and the unique DepicT! Awards (two awards of £2,000 one live action, one animated sponsored by Aardman and Films@59) that challenge budding filmmakers to make a micro-movie in 90 seconds. You can view the short listed DepicT! films at www.depict.org and vote for your favorite.

Tickets for the Professional Strand on Animation Industry day are £100-00, and tickets for the Newcomer Strand are £60-00. Check out the festival website, www.encounters-festival.org.uk.

Andrew Osmond

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