Director of Programming James McNally is attending this year’s Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival from September 20th to 25th.
Thursday in Bristol and the sun was finally shining. I was also feeling slightly more energetic, though I skipped the 10:00am screening to make sure I had some coffee and some food before watching any films. The noon screening was Animation 3: Top of the Class and there were indeed some top-notch films in this lineup. I’d very much enjoyed Reka Bucsi’s graduation film Symphony No. 42 back in 2014, and her latest work, LOVE (image below), retains much of the earlier film’s whimsy while adding depth as it explores the phases of falling in and out of love. I also very much enjoyed Volker Schlecht and Alexander Lahl’s animated documentary Broken: The Women’s Prison at Hoheneck which used a spare style to expose a history of forced labour at a notorious East German prison.
I enjoyed a cheap (3 pounds!) sandwich deal from the local Sainsbury’s and ate sitting in the sun by the Cascade Steps. Then it was time for a little exploration. I found one of Banksy’s works, called “Well Hung Lover” and browsed the local FOPP, where I bought some books, DVDs, and a CD. I headed back to the Watershed for the 4:00pm screening, which was Short Film 6: Modern Love.
Highlights from this programme included Toby Fell Holden’s Balcony, a sweet tale of cross-cultural attraction with a nasty sting in its tail. I also really enjoyed Andrei Cretulescu’s slow burning Seven Months Later, about a couple desperate to have a baby. But my favourite had to be the mostly-bonkers A Night in Tokoriki by Roxana Stroe. Cheesy music to go with male posturing at its finest, this short had me laughing until things got serious.
I stuck around for more animation at 6:00pm, in the Animation 4: It’s Only Natural programme. Best here was Cécile Paysant’s Wellington Jr., a stop-motion puppet tale about male vanity played out in the context of a hunting competition.
By this point my eyes were closing involuntarily, so I thought I’d head home for some food and a rest and then maybe head back to the bar for a drink. But after waiting 30 minutes for a takeaway curry, I thought it best to head to bed early.