From Silent Smirks to Full-Blown Belly Laughs: Comedy at Encounters 2018


Short film can depict so many different emotions and represent the light and shade of life. On Wednesday and Thursday evening this year, we’ll be showing you the lighter side. Our comedy programmes, Group Therapy and From the Sublime to the Ridiculous feature short films from all over the world with witty observations that are guaranteed to tickle you right in the funny bone.

Group Therapy on Wednesday 26th at Watershed, is a thought provoking collection of shorts with a subtle approach to comedy. Amusing situations and underground connections happily conspire to create a few giggles. Here are a few good’uns in the programme:

Peter Peake’s animated short Take Rabbit, features famous voice talents Matt Berry, Amelia Bullmore, Stephen Graham and Steve Pemberton. It animates a well-known riddle about a fox, a rabbit and a cabbage, but hearing the characters’ monologues adds a witty nuance to the classic tale. Peter Peake is a BAFTA and Oscar-nominated animation director who’s worked with Aardman on family favourites like Wallace and Gromit: A Close Shave and Creature Comforts.


Another stand-out from Group Therapy is Tungrus directed by Rishi Chanda. We meet the Bharde family in their Mumbai apartment, but one family member is rather unusual – a chaotic but lovable rooster. In the film’s conversational style we learn how the rooster wreaks havoc in their home, which although charming, eventually leads to a trip to the butcher.


In Renaissance we see a new dad fulfilling his lifelong dream of becoming a hip hop artist… well, trying to. His wife isn’t best pleased, but it definitely makes for an amusing watch for us. The mockumentary style film is directed by Ben Mallaby, a BAFTA nominated director, who also directed the comedy shorts series Climaxed for BBC3.


Reach The Sky is a stop-motion short which explores queer identities, with a special guest appearance from Frida Kahlo. The woollen characters meet new friends and live out their fantasies on a serene backdrop alongside dreamy music. It’s a very enjoyable watch and is sure to raise a smile.   

Group Therapy is packed full of much more lighthearted entertainment, get your tickets here.

Our second comedy programme, From the Sublime to the Ridiculous, is slightly more absurd and perverse. Everyday situations are viewed through different eyes, and fresh perspectives deliver some very funny results. Here’s a few to get you started:

The screening starts with La Merde, where a woman wakes up after a night with the man of her dreams, surely nothing could spoil this perfect moment? Now think of that Tinder date in Bristol where an ‘offensive package’ got stuck in the double-glazing… this film will make you cringe as much as it makes you laugh.


Kleptomami is an observation of how, frankly, laughable it is that new mothers are judged after the blood, sweat and tears of pregnancy, childbirth and all the messy bits that follow. Expectant mothers and fathers, be warned! Kleptomami won the Jury Prize for Best Comedy at Cannes this year, and also won the German Competition at the Berlin Interfilm Festival


Dark comedy Lobsters is shot on the nostalgic backdrop of a British caravan holiday. Mark, a loved-up Brummie, narrates his fantasy relationship with Tanya who is holidaying with her husband Dave in the caravan opposite. Mark’s resentment towards Dave unravels, which to us is hilarious, but maybe only because we can all totally relate to being a Mark… The director Matt Huntley was the assistant director of BAFTA-winning, This Is England.

From the Sublime to the Ridiculous will definitely lure a few laughs, even with it’s darker tone. Get your tickets here. If you want a double dose of comedy then come along to both – you’ll be silently smirking, full-blown belly laughing and everything in between!

As with all of our film screenings, if you are already a festival pass holder you can book your free ticket from 9am on the day of the screening. If you’re yet to buy your festival pass, click here.

Don’t forget to have a look at our full programme to find out what else we’ve got in store for this year’s festival.

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