Encounters Film Festival and The British Film Institute: Widening the Lens 2016

Encounters Film Festival returns to Bristol this September with a pledge to tackle the lack of diversity in filmmaking and to celebrate filmmakers from minority groups. In partnership with The British Film Institute (BFI), and with the support of the BFI’s Diversity Fund, Encounters is offering new and emerging filmmakers from under-represented groups the opportunity to win a unique and generous prize package.

A response to the lack of diversity within the film industry – both in front of the camera and behind-the-scenes – the ‘Widening the Lens’ competition is open to those identified by the BFI Diversity Guidelines. As an organic follow-on from last year’s festival and its focus on Women in Film, Encounters is dedicated to opening the debate to as many voices as possible.

Applicants are invited to send pitches for short films that address the issue of diversity in a unique and creative way. Entries can be of any genre, but they must present alternative perspectives and stories, and respond to and tackle ideas surrounding the limitations of traditional character and narrative type. Film ideas can be sent in any way applicants wish; from a written brief to a short video introduction, a poem or even a voice recording, Encounters wishes to encourage applicants’ creativity and originality.

Those shortlisted will be invited to this year’s event to take part in the full festival programme, workshops and mentoring sessions with industry professionals before pitching their ideas to an international panel of expert judges. The winner and two runners-up will receive cash prizes to support the winning films, invaluable professional experience, a supported crowd-funding campaign post-festival and development opportunities through promotion on national and international platforms. The winner will also win a trip to the Clermont Ferrand Film Festival 2017 with the Encounters Festival Team.

The competition closes on 31 August. Full details and guidelines can be found online at http://encounters-festival.org.uk/widening-the-lens-pitching-competition/.

Encounters Film Festival, Bristol, 20 – 25 September.

1. Jane Colling,Loop Ring Chop Drink. Courtesy of Encounters.