Encounters staff picks: Animation

As you may expect, we love short films here at Encounters. Yet, with 2,500 films submitted to the festival each year, it can be hard to keep track of our favourites.

In part out of an effort to remind ourselves of some of our favourite films that have been submitted to the festival over the years, and in part out of a desire to share the films we love with you, in the coming months Encounters staff will be picking some of our personal favourite animated and live action shorts that we think really shouldn’t be missed. So, without further ado, here are some Encounters’ staff picksfrom a few of the team of animated short films.


Our 2015 Animated Grand Prix Winner was this 6 minute fantasy animation directed by Mikey Please.  I was quite blown away by the beauty of it.  It used tiny carved foam pieces, and the delicacy of the animation and level of detail for me made it a sheer feat in craftsmanship.  I also really liked the lighting and sets used, perfectly evoking a fantastical, other worldly ness, but with this real story at the heart – the story of Marillyn, and her sheer perfectionism.  It left me with so many questions for Marilyn!  And I still enjoy watching it as much as the first.


Dad’s Dead was the first film I saw by Chris Shepherd and it was the perfect introduction to his unique blend of the familiar and the sinister.  Using a combination of animation and live action a tale of betrayal unfolds filling all 6 minutes and 39 seconds with dread and genuine fear for the victims of Johnno.  Chris has gone on to become a festival favourite with other shorts such as Silence is Golden and Bad Night for the Blues also screening in competition at Encounters.


This Oscar nominated animation had an unexpected impact on me – mainly because I hate having to pay to go to the loo, so can’t think of anything worse than having to collect money from people so desperate to empty that they’ll pay to do so… BUT after watching this short my heart softened slightly, all because of the toilet attendant. Her ferocious attempts to uncover the identity of her secret admirer – leaving no cubicle door unopened – pay off in a beautifully scored moment of passion in one of the unsexiest places on earth.


The definition of short and sweet – Steve Kirby sets his two minute film ‘If The Cuckoo Don’t Crow’ to the audio recording of a radio interview with ‘Brian from Melton’, who tells of his mother Doris’ interaction with the 1987 hurricane in a endearingly funny way, with a perfectly suited animation style to boot. Winning the DepicT! British Special Mention award at last year’s Encounters, the film had me in stitches the first time I watched it, and all the other times too.


This darkly comic tale of a reluctant cannibal is beautifully made and incredibly inventive in its pushing the boundaries of what animation can do. It can tell the whole life story of a man in reverse in under 8 minutes with amazing intricacy and surreal scene changes that have Edmond melting through the floor into an earlier period of his life. I loved its imaginative yet simply bizarre plot and how it is told with a real compassion that will leave you sympathising with a killer. This short won our NextGen Skills Academy Best of British Award at 2015’s festival and it went on to win this year’s Bafta for Best Animated Short. Well deserved!

Read our interview with Nina Gantz following her BAFTA win here.


An innuendo ridden, bold way of exploring comedy, ‘Cream Tease’ utilises colour, music and image to transport us back to the height of summer in the eighties. As part of our Late Lounge (18+) programme, this short, steamy and silly animation proves how easily film can subvert your expectations, and then make you giggle.


I think one of the main reasons I am so consistently impressed and delighted by the animated films at Encounters is because the degree of patience and intricacy that goes into each of them is something I would never be able to replicate even if I tried. The epitome of patience-requiring animation is, of course, stop motion – and this short by Joe Blaxland perfectly encapsulates the fact that is an art form not suitable for the faint-hearted or easily frustrated. The film itself is deliciously meta, hilarious to boot, and all too relatable for those film students amongst us who once had the nerve to say, “It can’t be that hard, can it?”