Encounters 2016: Day 1

You Still Look Tired

Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival from September 20th to 25th.

I’ve been excited about this trip for quite a while now, but I’ve also been working for TIFF, and the 16-hour days were beginning to wear me out. Normally, I’d have written a “Before I Go” post but I was just too busy and exhausted.

TIFF ended Sunday evening and my flight was at 10pm on Monday night. After a reasonable attempt at sleeping in, I had to clean my apartment and do laundry. I barely had time to grab some pizza slices before having to leave for the airport. A new TIFF friend had given me a sleeping pill but it was almost two hours into the flight before I got any water to wash it down with. As a result, I might have slept a couple of hours on the plane but was becoming very groggy by the time I landed. From Gatwick I had to take a train to Reading and then change for Bristol Temple Meads station. I made the train with only seconds to spare.

I got into Bristol around 3:45pm and got a taxi to the Southville Guest House, a newly opened bed and breakfast about 15 minutes walk from downtown. I’d intended to have a 45 minute nap but ended up sleeping until after 6pm. Still a bit groggy, I walked to the Watershed Cinema to pick up my pass and my ticket for the Aardman Animations 40th Anniversary Celebration. After a quick dinner at a restaurant called Pieminster (which served savoury pies), I returned for the event. Peter Lord and David Sproxton founded Aardman in 1976 and each took a turn in telling some stories from its history. The event culminated in the first showing of the newly remastered video for Peter Gabriel’s song “Sledgehammer” which Aardman worked on in 1986.

I’d been eager to see and hear everything and sat right up front, but then had some trouble staying awake, which was slightly embarrassing. I realized that the best thing to do afterwards was to head straight home for a proper night’s rest, which is exactly what I did.

My first impressions of Bristol have been good. It’s a very pretty town with lots of canals and boats everywhere. I’m looking forward to exploring much more this week. The graffiti in the photo above is on one of the many footbridges that commuters must take on their way to and from work. It certainly made me smile in recognition.

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