In light of the global impact the COVID-19 pandemic is having on the film festival sector, organisers of the Encounters Film Festival have taken a pre-emptive decision to move this year’s 26th edition of the festival online, in order to offer some clarity and certainty to filmmakers in these uncertain times. The festival has also announced its collaboration with BFI NETWORK, Watershed and industry partners including BAFTA, Channel 4 and BBC Creative to launch #shortitout to build an inspired community of filmmakers in the challenging months ahead, to encourage creative responses to the current situation.
Encounters’ Festival Director, Rich Warren would like to reassure filmmakers that all films selected to screen in competition at Encounters online this September, will still be eligible to be nominated for the EFAs, and the BAFTAs and the Animated and Brief Encounters Grand Prix winners will still qualify for The Academy Awards.
“The new virtual format of Encounters will continue to provide a platform for new and emerging talent and will deliver the same exceptional programme of international short films, animation, masterclasses, panel discussions as well as the networking opportunities that has historically been one of Encounters main attractions” confirms Rich Warren. “We also see the launch of #shortitout as a great starting point for the roll out of a host of pioneering initiatives in the digital environment in the lead up to Encounters, enabling filmmakers to engage with each other, key industry contacts and audiences.”
The closure of UK cultural venues will impact on the creative sector and Encounters is keen to support their recovery once the current restrictions are lifted, by helping to rebuild audiences with a host of reactive Encounters events across the year in collaboration with its regular venues, partners and peers.