Preview: Brief Encounters, Various Cinemas, Bristol

Short walks and strange meetings
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For Bristol's 11th international short-film festival, 200 mini-masterpieces from around the globe will be screened over five days.

The creative director of Brief Encounters, Mark Cosgrove, thinks nothing of watching more than 2,000 short films a year. He visits all the international and British film festivals, and also sifts through the 1,000-plus entries submitted to the festival, their makers hoping to win one of the 10 festival awards.

Does he know beforehand which films are most likely to take the prizes? "That is the million-dollar question," Cosgrove says. "You are never quite sure which way the jury will go." Two films he believes would be worthy winners are Vinil Verde (Green Vinyl) and Yeah! Yeah! Yeah!. Vinil Verde is a Brazilian short in which a mother tells her daughter not to play the green record in the record collection. "The daughter keeps playing it, and every time she does, the mother comes back minus a limb. You can only imagine what the mum looks like by the end of the film. I haven't seen anything like this since Luis Buñuel." Yeah! Yeah! Yeah! is an "off-the-wall" teenage love story from Spain that features a toy panda. "It has a raw talent and punk energy," Cosgrove says.

These shorts represent "a whole range of countries whose film-making people don't know a lot about". Love Letter to Myself is set in an empty studio where Bob Dylan's "Just Like a Woman" fills the room, in a brief study of "presence through absence". Oh My God is a 10-minute visual bloodbath, as a man returns home to find that his family have been brutally attacked. Le Baiser (The Kiss) depicts a young woman waiting to be kissed for its entire four minutes and 20 seconds, while the animated short The Shoes is "a unique shoe's-eye view of an illicit affair".

Special guests this year include Nick Park (Wallace and Gromit), who will run an animation master-class, and Stephen Woolley (Stoned, The Crying Game).

23 to 27 November (0117-927 5100; www.brief-encounters.org.uk)

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