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Q & A with Gaia Meucci, short film programmer at Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival

Monday 28 October 2013, by Elise Loiseau

Gaïa Meucci is the programmer of the Encounters Short Film and Animation Festival in Bristol. She took the time to answer some of our questions about programming, and tells us what has made Encounters on the UK’s foremost film festivals.

According to you, why has Encounters Festival acquired such a strong identity throughout the years?

Because of the quality of the programme, the festival’s international scope and its friendliness and accessibilty, which allows filmmakers to make the most of their festival experience and connect with industry and audiences alike.

How would you describe the Encounters film festival?

The heart and soul of Encounters is about showcasing short films and animation and providing a platform for emerging talent. It provides a place where audiences, filmmakers and industry professionals come together and connect with each other. Its mission is to promote and celebrate short films as a way to support the next generation of filmmakers and animators. The quality of the film and industry events programme, the friendliness of the festival and the great care we take of the filmmakers and their work are some of the distinctive aspects of our event.

Which were the key constraints of the programme this year?

Time, as usual! One of the main struggles for the programmers at Encounters is the short window we have between the closing date for submissions and the deadline for the programme delivery. This year this was made even more challenging due to the remarkable increase in festival submissions. So the pre-selectors and the programmers had to work really hard, especially between May and June to get all the submissions watched and the programme ’locked’, as we say.

Would you say it’s more difficult for a short film festival than for a feature one to attract a sizeable audience?

It’s more difficult for a short film festival because it’s mainly emerging talent so the audience is taking the plunge to go and see something completely new and that in most cases they wouldn’t know anything about. Feature films are often attached to a recognisable director’s or actor’s names and - of course only generally speaking - can be more easily identified within a genre, something which doesn’t necessarily happen with short films as they can be, by their own nature, much more free and unpredictable in style, genre and approach.

As a programmer, is there any director you’d like to invite? Do you have a “wishlist”?

For a very short time this year we thought there was a chance Jim Jarmusch would attend Encounters. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen in the end but it got me very excited as I have admired Jarmusch’s work for a very long time and even devoted my very first feature film programme as a curator to him. Hopefully I will get a chance to meet him at some point!

Any message or comments?

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