On the agenda: Encounters International Film Festival; Ben & Jerry; Selfridges; The Sitcom Mission; Un-Convention Factory

We're off to Macclesfield to make an idiot of ourselves – then loading up on ice-cream!
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The Independent Culture


Excitement is building for the July opening of Toy Story 3 – and not just for the main feature. Just as entertaining are the preview shorts with which Pixar highlights its film-making skills – and now the Encounters International Film Festival is asking you to do the same. It has put out a call for entries for its 16th annual short-film fest, comprising an animated competition as well as live-action drama, documentaries, experimental and music videos – the only constant being that all must be shorter than 30 minutes and submitted by 30 June. Last year, more than 150 films from 58 countries were screened to more than 6,500 viewers (including animation newcomer winner, Rabbit Punch). The festival will take place in Bristol from 16-21 November. For more: encounters-festival.org.uk

Robert Epstein


Mr Whippy was never this generous: on Tuesday, Ben & Jerry's parlours across the country are giving away ice-cream between 1pm and 5pm as part of its Free (Fair) Cone Day to celebrate its commitment to going fully Fairtrade by the end of the year – the perfect way to assuage any guilt about that pleasure. And best of all, there's no limit to how many times you can go back for more. benjerry.co.uk

Adam Jacques


Selfridges plays host to designers Peter Jensen, Natascha Stolle and Sophie Hulme this month with the launch of a pop-up collaboration between trendy boutique b-store and retro-cool Baby G watches. Each fashion name has created an exclusive version of the 1990s-tastic wristwear, giving their own spin on the funky, chunky designs beloved by so many hipsters. Our favourite is Jensen's adorable bunny motif. selfridges.com

Harriet Walker


Have you ever sat on the sofa watching a sitcom while wondering what on earth the commissioners were thinking? Of course you have. Now's your chance to see the earliest part of the process of sitcom-making. The Sitcom Mission has been hosting heats at London's New Diorama Theatre in which writer hopefuls put on 15-minute performances in front of a live audience and judges. The semi-finals will be held on 17 and 24 May, and the final on 7 June, with judges including BBC Radio's head of comedy production and the heads of comedy from Channel 4 and Sky. Sell-outs are expected, so book early. comedy.co.uk/sitcom-mission; for tickets: 0844 2090 344, newdiorama.com



A new "science timeline" has just launched at the Inspire Discovery Centre in Oak Street, Norwich – a thought-provoking addition to the hands-on exhibition in the weird and wonderful converted church. You get an educated class of visitor at Inspire: one young boy, spotting an article about the Cern scientist Brian Cox being "the Liam Gallagher of physics", was keen to read about his telegenic, particle-accelerating hero, but was heard to ask, "Mummy, who is Liam Gallagher?" inspirediscoverycentre.com

Katy Guest


Got a lust for life in the music industry? If so, there's a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity on 8 May, when an old silk mill in Macclesfield will be transformed into a creative nucleus, with 60 industry professionals (including Don Letts, Peter Hook and Malcolm Garrett) and eight bands (including I Am Kloot and Reverend Soundsystem) joining 300 aspiring music-biz big-wigs to remake Iggy Pop's classic album The Idiot from scratch. Successful applicants to Un-Convention Factory will be involved in all aspects of production, from cover design to marketing. It's a free event, but hurry – tomorrow is the last chance to apply. unconventionhub.org

Janey Stephenson