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Encounters Festival 2014 – 20 Essential Animated Films

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The 20th edition of Bristol’s Encounters Short Film Festival returns to the Watershed tomorrow. With a packed programme of competition screenings, special events, retrospectives and much more, Skwigly have picked twenty of the strongest films from the crop that shouldn’t be missed.



Dir. Brothers McLeod, 2013
Screening: Animation 3 – Reasons To Be Cheerful

The monumental ambition of this project is only matched by its execution. This visual diary has a new surprise every second, never growing stale or becoming boring; It is a risk that really pays off. (Steve Henderson)

Ab Ovo

Dir. Anita Kwiatkowska-Naqvi, 2013
Screening: Animation 2 – Pleasure & Pain

The film, both visceral and hauntingly beautiful, is a semi-abstract interpretation of pregnancy and impending motherhood making tremendous use of superbly-detailed clay animation. (Ben Mitchell)

Bob’s Birthday

Dir. David Fine/Alison Snowden, 1993
Screening: 20 Films From 20 Years

Snowden and Fine’s deservedly lauded film, much like the TV series which grew from it, beautifully captures the essence of middle-aged/middle-class ennui. Over twenty years later it remains an understated joy. (Ben Mitchell)


Dir. Ant Blades, 2013
Screening: Animation 3 – Reasons To Be Cheerful/Children’s Award

A worthy addition to an already impressive roster of viral smash-hits and festival crowdpleasers, Carpark shares the charm and frame-perfect comedic timing of all Blades’s previous work. (Ben Mitchell)

The Congress

Dir. Ari Folman, 2013
Screening: The Congress

Midst a sea of mainstream animated features that, for all their technological progression and artistic skill, wind up as either ‘kind of good’ or ‘kind of bad’, The Congress will swirl around in your head for a good long while which, in and of itself, elevates it somewhat. (Ben Mitchell)

The Dam Keeper
Dir. Robert Kondo/Dice Tsutsumi, 2014
Screening: Animation 4 – Fear & Loathing/Animation Highlights

Achieving the jaw-dropping feat of capturing the charm and textural detail of elaborate concept art (as seen in many an ‘Art of’ tome), Tsutsumi and Kondo’s spectacular film also succeeds as a story told with sincere resonance. An absolute must-watch. (Ben Mitchell)


Dir. Suzie Templeton, 2000
Screening: 20 Films From 20 Years

Templeton’s masterclass of misery is a demonstration of the true potential of animation – it can be as dark as it is often light and it can take you places you might not necessarily want to go. (Steve Henderson)

Don’t Fear Death

Dir. Louis Hudson, 2013
Screening: Late Lounge/Animation Highlights

Whilst exalting the benefits of the post mortem lifestyle, the film leaps and bounds from one idea to the next convincing the audience that death is okay in the grisly detailed style Hudson is becoming known for. (Steve Henderson)

Dreams & Desires – Family Ties

Dir. Joanna Quinn, 2006
Screening: 20 Films From 20 Years

A look into the less desirable attributes of an everyday wedding, beautifully rendered in the way only Quinn can. The wonderful lines and bold characters in this film showcase real female sensibilities and all the embarrassment and anguish that comes with them. (Laura-Beth Cowley)


Dir. Glen Keane, 2014
Screening: Animation 5 – Love, Loss & Loneliness/Duet

Keane’s eye for detail and years of experience at the helm of some of the animation world’s most iconic contemporary characters is more than apparent in this film. In both forms, as an interactive tale and a standalone film in its own right, it achieves something both classical and magical all at once. (Ben Mitchell)

Lost Property

Dir. Åsa Lucander, 2014
Screening: Animation 5 – Love, Loss & Loneliness

The beautifully-realised film looks into the idea of memory loss and the aging process, exploring how memories shape who we are and how we move on in our life. (Laura-Beth Cowley)


Dir. Ross Hogg, 2013
Screening: Animation 2 – Pleasure & Pain

Ross Hogg…has managed to capture life perfectly in a way that would put others to shame. You feel as if you’re at the match with the artist, watching his artwork come to life. (Steve Henderson)

Marilyn Myller

Dir. Mikey Please, 2013
Screening: Animation 5 – Love, Loss & Loneliness

Marilyn Myller should resonate incredibly well with any animator, artist or creative out there who has struggled to make “the perfect project”. Please has taken his creative skill used in Eagleman Stag and topped it with a much more creative use of light, cinematography and music. (Steve Henderson)

Me & My Moulton

Dir. Torill Kove, 2014
Screening: Comedy – Why The Short Face?

The film, an international co-production between the NFB and Mikrofilm AS, is a story of childhood alienation and struggling to communicate with family told in Kove’s signature storytelling style of charmingly visualised memories interwoven with fiction. (Ben Mitchell)

Mister Plastimime

Dir. Daniel Greaves, 2014
Screening: Animation 5 – Love, Loss & Loneliness

This film displays humour and heart in equal measure, along with a great dose of intelligence. Daniel Greaves once again proves himself as the animator’s animator. (Steve Henderson)

Monkey Love Experiments

Dir. Ainslie Henderson/Will Anderson, 2014
Screening: Animation 5 – Love, Loss & Loneliness/Animation Highlights

This film is perfectly placed in its era through its use of colour, graphics and television broadcasts of the space race that influence the tiny test subject’s ambitions. (Steve Henderson)

The Planets

Dir. Andy Martin, 2014
Screening: Animation 3 – Reasons To Be Cheerful/Children’s Award

Andy works in many and any material he can get his hands on, delivering a highly energetic and imaginative outcome to all his projects. (Laura-Beth Cowley)

Subconscious Password

Dir. Chris Landreth, 2013
Screening: Animation 1 – The Sands of Time/Animation Highlights

The creator of Ryan and The Spine shows off his dry, humorous side as we take a trip into the subconscious of a man who is terrible with names. Created in Landreth’s familiar style, the injection of humour makes this both an excellent watch and a festival favourite. (Steve Henderson)


Dir. Nils Hedinger, 2013
Screening: Animation 2 – Pleasure & Pain

A charming 2D short, wherein a refugee assortment of anthropomorphised logs and branches take shelter from the cold together, only to turn on one another for firewood. Witty and thoughtful in equal measure. (Ben Mitchell)


Dir. Adam Elliot, 1996
Screening: 20 Films From 20 Years

(Adam’s) stories as told have an honesty and emotional weight to them that is rarely evidenced in plasticine animation, while the lines between fiction and non-fiction are purposefully blurred. (Ben Mitchell)

For the full line-up and to book tickets visit and keep your eyes on Skwigly for more coverage throughout the week!

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