Inside Encounters #1- South West Showcase

Happy Birthday Cindy Wei by Tsveta Lozanova

Screening the work of a diverse array of filmmaking talents from across the South West of England and South Wales, Encounters’ South West Showcase has always sought to deliver a generous helping of bright ideas and creativity.

This year’s diverse line-up is no exception, boasting fifteen unique productions from upcoming and established directorial talents alike. With an intoxicating mixture of live action shorts, spellbinding animations and frank, engaging documentaries, it sees an exploration of a wealth of topics, ranging from nature and time to creativity and laughter. This year’s animated offerings include Katrina Hood and Elizabeth Johnson’s Night Light, a moody Selick-esque fairytale, and Luka Bajt’s Ancient, both brought to life through stop-motion wizardry. Matthew Walker’s The Lonely Dodo offers a moving reflection on a need to preserve species at risk, Harry Slinger-Thompson crafts a colourful love story with Island and Toby Dixon subverts fairytale conventions to amusing effect in his 3D animation The Monster. Elsewhere, Paul Hill pits man against the elements with Sun and Darren Robbie’s Making Stuff pays a lovingly multi-textured tribute to creativity, while Encounters alumni Karni Arieli and Saul Freed are back in competition with Winter Trees, a music video for The Staves.

Real life stories aren’t thin on the ground this year either, with three documentaries exploring wildly different themes. Gary Thomas and Martin Morrison lead the way with The Best Medicine, a moving ode to the power of laughter in the face of adversity. Luka Bajt and Yoon Duck Kim explore what goes on behind the scenes of our rail service with the visually striking Behind the Journey, while Rhodri Williams and Ollie Elliot take a fascinating look at the frequently misunderstood world of parkour in Art of Motion.

Four live-action narrative shorts round off the programme, each with their own distinctive voice. These include Longhorn, a moody black and white curio from Harry Young-Jamieson, Each Shining Hour, an unsettling reflection on time from Joe Magee and Tsveta Lozanova’s brilliantly twisted coming of age tale Happy Birthday Cindy Wei.

Corin Taylor’s majestic To The Sea finishes up proceedings, with its moving portrayal of a young girl mourning the loss of her father at sea. Set to the unique, stunning backdrop of the Cornish Riviera, it stands as one of this year’s most compelling highlights. With such a diverse array of talent on offer, this is one showcase that’s not to be missed.

By Paul Weedon