Encounters is the UK’s leading short film, animation and virtual reality festival.

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

From a one-off celebration to mark the centenary of cinema, to an international success story, Encounters provides an international platform for celebrating talent and innovation in short film, animation and virtual reality

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 event programme with high level masterclasses and workshops.

At the heart of the festival lies the Encounters international competition – one of the world’s leading international competitions for short film, animation and virtual reality, and also an official gateway to the world’s most prestigious awards; the Academy Awards®, BAFTAs and the European Film Awards.

Connecting industry and audiences, the festival celebrates the creativity, diversity and the impact of short film.

So whether you are a filmmaker looking to launch or develop your career, an industry professional wanting to stay abreast of what’s new, or a film lover wanting to soak up the festival atmosphere by watching great films and special events, come along to the next festival for a truly inspiring week of short film celebration!

©Matt Whiteley 2019

©Matt Whiteley 2019


The festival began life in 1995 as Brief Encounters – a one-off event to mark the centenary of cinema.

It proved so successful that it became an annual attraction – and has expanded year on year ever since. Animated Encounters was set up in 2001 to celebrate and showcase animation. In 2006 the two festivals united as the Encounters Short Film Festival, and we are now known simply as ‘Encounters’.

In 2010 Encounters became a qualifying festival for the Academy Awards Short Film Category. Then in 2011 Encounters announced a new partnership with the European Film Academy Short Film Initiative, becoming a member of the 15 European festivals that present the nominations for the European Film Academy Short Film Awards.

As short film has moved onto new platforms, Encounters Festival introduced a third Grand Prix competition strand, Immersive Encounters, in 2017. This award aims to highlight the achievements in 360 degree filmmaking. It is the latest addition to an ever-evolving festival and underlines the commitment to filmmaking innovation and future visions.