The world of short film and animation descended on Bristol last week and with it came the UK and world film industry - buyers, agents, producers - in search of the next Nick Park, Lynne Ramsay or Roy Andersson. For short film is where careers are forged and where new talent is discovered. Each of the 20 competitive programmes in the festival were bristling with creativity and ideas, tackling provocative subject matter or current issues.
At the festival's heart is promoting, profiling and platforming new talent: Future Encounters drew together 10 distinctive voices from the festival programmes which offer new cinematic visions: remember you read about them here first!
In this digital era talent no longer needs to gravitate to the centre - long gone are the days when pounding the streets of Soho was part of a filmmakers apprenticeship - to get a foot in the film industry door. In the new digital landscape talent can appear anywhere. The equation has changed: the centre (the industry) now has to find the talent: they are as likely to be in Paignton and Kinlochbervie as they are in London.
To that end FilmWorks was launched at Encounters a networked regional talent development initiative with partners in Sheffield (Showroom) and Nottingham (Broadway) and funding from Creative England. This groundbreaking initiative in talent development with live transmition of talks and events across the partner venues whilst working with locally based film producers to train and mentor. (Julie Lockhart whose most recent film was Aardman's The Pirates! In An Adventure With Scientists is Watershed's professional partner). The aim is to develop regionally based film talent and help generate self supporting cross regional networks sharing skills and experiences: critically fostering a creative local environment where talent can grow without feeling that 'old' need to move to London. The event at Encounters featured award winning animator Peter Lord discussing where his ideas come from alongside first time feature director Katarzyna Klimkiewicz. The talk can be viewed here http://www.filmworks.org.uk
Another element of FilmWorks and something which the Encounters festival encapsulates is the sharing of skills across production and exhibition. As we know thanks to digital that the old models are being challenged. The film industry was based on the silo'd factions of production, distribution and exhibition. Very little exchange of ideas and practice would happen between these sectors. Rather the main form of exchange would be financial - what deal are we getting? Now however those boundaries are becoming more porous and discussions becoming more interesting. It was inspirational then to hear from experienced industry professionals such as legendary producer Jeremy Thomas who has worked with directors ranging form Nic Roeg and Bernardo Bertolucci to David Cronenberg and Miike Takashi, award winning documentary filmmaker Kim Longinotto and cinematographer Lol Crawley who all generously shared their hard earned insights with the next generation of filmmaking talent.
The above talks will be published at:
Encounters award are winners listed at: