The Faculty of Creative and Cultural Industries shares graduate film ‘Encounter‘, produced by University of Portsmouth alumnus Howard Wimshurst, has won Best Short film at the Fort William Mountain Festival Festival 2019 and Best Animation at the London International Short Film Festival SFF 2018.
BA (Hons) Animation graduate Howard Wimshurst is a freelance artist and filmmaker from London. He specialises in 2d hand-drawn animation. Howard has been contributing short films to the online animator’s community since he was 15 years old. Newgrounds.com was his introduction into the world of animation. He quickly learned that he did not need an expensive film crew to make films, just a cheap graphics tablet, a laptop and an imagination.
Encounter is Howard’s latest short film project. It tells a short fictional story of two strangers from vastly different cultural backgrounds unexpectedly meeting on a secluded mountain.
Howard has always been willing to share his process with other aspiring filmmakers. To accompany the final film, he released a three-part documentary series (Link) on the making of Encounter, where he shares the struggles and triumphs he went through to take the animation to completion.
The production of Encounter began at the start of 2018 and was completed in June.
Encounter was developed at here at the University of Portsmouth. The film went on to earn him a first class honours degree in Animation.
Encounter took over 6 months of intensive work to develop – that is about equivalent to 24 seconds of animation per month! Deciding to create a film that can be understood by anyone of any language, Howard wrote the story entirely with storyboards, opting for a visual form of film making that requires no dialogue.
Encounter was first released on YouTube to Howard’s online following of over 90,000 animation enthusiasts. This community was established over the course of three years by Howard regularly providing online lessons, seminars and behind-the-scenes insights into the art of animation. Howard hopes that his work will continue to serve as a helpful resource for animation enthusiasts all over the world.
At first, Howard only wanted to depict his thrilling adventures in the mountains, with dynamic ski lines and cascades of snow. As the storyboard developed and his research scope broadened, he found that there was a lot more to be explored in the culture of skiing and the human condition.
Howard recalls: “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 every-day occurrence.”
Film Maker Statement: “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. 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.”