Animation graduate film wins festival awards
Encounter, a graduate short film by BA (Hons) Animation alumnus Howard Wimshurst, has won two awards: Best Short Film at Fort William Mountain Festival 2019, and Best Animation at London International Short Film Festival SFF 2018.
The film tells a story of two strangers from different cultural backgrounds unexpectedly meeting on a secluded mountain. It was produced during Howard's final year at the University, beginning early 2018 and taking 6 months of intense work to its completion in June. Howard wrote the story entirely with storyboards, and chose a more visual-based film form with no dialogue to make sure anyone of any language can understand it.
"Encounter was inspired by my ski trips in the French Alps, as well as historical research into ski tribes at the far corners of the world," he explains. "I wanted to explore the contrast between skiing as a recreational sport, and skiing as a means of survival. It took many months to draw this film by hand."
Howard, a freelance artist and filmmaker from London, only wanted to depict his thrilling mountain adventures at first, with dynamic ski lines and cascades of snow. However, as the storyboard developed and his research scope broadened, he found more to be explored in skiing culture and the human condition.
I found it interesting that in our society, death can feel like a far-away concept – whereas to someone living as part of an ancient civilisation, death could be an everyday occurrence.
An active contributor to the online animation community since he was 15, Howard's always been keen to share his process with other aspiring filmmakers. He released a three-part making-of documentary with the final film, where he shares his struggles and triumphs throughout the film's development.
Encounter was first released on YouTube to Howard's expanding online following, established over three years by his regularly providing online lessons, seminars and behind-the-scenes insights into the art of animation. He hopes his work continues serving as a helpful resource for animation enthusiasts worldwide.