Independent Visions: Encounters

18th Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival (Bristol, UK, 18-23 September 2012) will host high profile names from the film and animation industries, including internationally acclaimed documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto, Academy Award winning independent producer Jeremy Thomas, director/animator Sam Fell, acclaimed cinematographer Lol Crawley and visual artist Paul Bush.

Friday 21 September sees on-stage sessions with two very special guests at the festival: a Filmmaker Focus on Kim Longinotto and an interview with Jeremy Thomas.

Kim Longinotto, who has also been confirmed as part of Encounters’ Documentary Jury, is one of the pre-eminent documentary filmmakers working today. She is renowned for creating extraordinary human portraits and tackling controversial topics with sensitivity and compassion. Longinotto’s films have won international acclaim and dozens of premiere awards at festivals worldwide, including the World Cinema Jury Prize in Documentary at Sundance for Rough Aunties. Highlights include perhaps one of her best known works, Sisters in Law (2005), winner of a 2008 Peabody Award and two Cannes awards, including the Cannes Prix art et Essai Award; The Day I Will Never Forget (2003), which won the Amnesty International DOEN Award at IDFA and Best Doc UK Spotlight at Hot Docs; the recent Hold Me Tight, Let Me Go (2007), winner of the Special Jury Prize at the International Documentary Film Festival, Amsterdam (IDFA); The BAFTA Award-winning Divorce Iranian Style (1998); Dream Girls (1993), winner of Best Documentary at Films de Femmes, Creteil; and Shinjuku Boys (1995), winner for Outstanding Documentary at the San Francisco Gay and Lesbian Film Festival.

Jeremy Thomas is one of the world’s leading independent producers. Thomas’ career has spanned five decades and an extraordinary range of distinctive films from directors such as Bernardo Bertolucci (five films including The Dreamers and The Last Emperor, winner of nine Oscars), Nic Roeg (Bad Timing, Insignificance), David Cronenberg (Crash, Naked Lunch, A Dangerous Method), Jerzy Skolimowski (The Shout, Essential Killing), Wim Wenders (Pina), Nagisa Oshima (Merry Christmas, Mr. Lawrence, Gohatto), Terry Gilliam (Tideland), Takashi Miike (13 Assassins, Hara-Kiri: Death of a Samurai), Stephen Frears (The Hit), Phillip Noyce (Rabbit Proof Fence), Takeshi Kitano (Brother) and Julien Temple (The Great Rock’n’Roll Swindle, Glastonbury), amongst others. He has also helped develop the careers of first-time feature filmmakers such as Jonathan Glazer (Sexy Beast) and David Mackenzie (Young Adam). Thomas is currently in production on Jim Jarmusch’s Only Lovers Left Alive, starring Tilda Swinton, Tom Hiddleston and Mia Wasikowska.

With his Recorded Picture Company Thomas has achieved that most remarkable feat in the film business: longevity and integrity. This in conversation will provide an insight into the hard earned experience of this most respected of film industry figures.

Jeremy Thomas has said: “An entrepreneurial spirit is an important element of being a producer, some sort of inner workings that is pushing you forward. Because there are a lot of knockbacks and you have to wear a sort of armour so you can continue believing in your films when everybody around you is telling you: “Don’t do that.’”

Directors UK will present a screening of LAIKA’s latest stop-motion feature ParaNorman, followed by a Q&A with the film’s co-director Sam Fell, on Thursday 20 September at Arnolfini. Fell started his career as director on the short film The Big Cheese for 3 Peach Animation, before joining Aardman Animations to work on projects such as Pop, the Oscar-nominated Wat’s Pig (Peter Lord) and Rex the Runt. In 2002 he directed the project Chump. In 2006 he wrote the story for and directed the Aardman/DreamWorks feature Flushed Away, for which he received a BAFTA nomination. In 2007 he went on to direct The Tale of Desespereaux for Universal Pictures. Both features earned him Annie Award nominations for Best Director. Fell has also developed and directed several shorts and television series, and is an award-winning commercials director and voice artist.

The BAFTA Craft Masterclass returns to Encounters with Lol Crawley the Director of Photography behind features such as Four Lions (Chris Morris), Better Things (Duane Hopkins), Here (Braden King) and On the Ice (Andrew MacLean) who will share his craft with festival audiences. Crawley has also done cinematography on a number of short films (Jade by Daniel Elliott, Love Me or Leave Me Alone by Duane Hopkins), television series The Crimson Petal and the White, documentaries and commercials. He most recently worked on the new Nelson Mandela biopic The Long Walk to Freedom, directed by Justin Chadwick for Origin Pictures.

Animated Encounters will focus on the work of Paul Bush, with a retrospective programme, screening of his latest feature Babeldom and a masterclass with the director. Bush’s films cross the boundaries between documentary, fiction and animation and have been shown in art galleries and as installations as well as conventional cinemas. He has won numerous awards and his work is owned by public collections all over the world. He regularly lectures and screens his work at art and film schools in Europe and the United States (NFTS, Centro Sperimentale di Cinematografia, Luzern University).

Encounters’ Artistic Director Mark Cosgrove said: “An important part of Encounters is the opportunity for young and emerging filmmakers to hear the hard earned experience and wisdom of established filmmaking figures and we are delighted to welcome to this year’s event a range of talent from live action and animation. In attracting such leading names to Bristol, the festival also continues to play a unique role in making the city a centre of excellence in the creative industries.”

The full festival programme and online delegate registration are now available online. For more information visit the website

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