From 3 to 30 November, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) celebrates its 10th anniversary edition, not from its home in York, but through a revolutionary new digital platform that’s accessible to audiences across the world. Covid-19 has created huge challenges for the film industry, from exhibitors and directors to editors and distributors. Despite these hurdles, this year brings opportunity to learn and adapt. ASFF has evolved to present exciting new programming that broaden the horizons of independent cinema. Audiences can engage with film screenings and live industry activity, logging in from the comfort of home.
Digital visitors can expect the same steadfast selection of ground-breaking short films – only for this year’s virtual festival, content will be released in daily curated strands at from 3-8 November. Once released, these expertly curated programmes will be available On Demand until 30 November. The strands group films together under six common themes, such as Just Another Day on Earth – exploring global perspectives – and Humans and Their Environment, considering the ways we interact with each other and the planet.
Maintaining a newly established commitment to longer content, the festival also offers has 10 feature screenings across both narrative and documentary filmmaking, which, again, will be released daily. Meanwhile on the VR and immersive filmmaking front, the 360 cinema launches on 3 November with 18 immersive films. These are accompanied by daily panel discussions on the ethics of Virtual Reality and its place constructing interactive landscapes for a more empathic viewing experience. These can be viewed at home with cardboard headsets, which are available with tickets.
The festival welcomes acclaimed writers, producers and directors as part of the industry programme, such as Andrea Arnold (Wasp, Fish Tank, American Honey), as well as a masterclasses with Sarah Gavron (Rocks, Suffragette) and Sam Feder (DISCLOSURE, Boy I Am) and double Oscar-winning VFX Supervisor Paul Franklin (Inception, Interstellar).
A spotlight on Russel Tovey is dedicated to the art of acting, and Turner Prize-winner Jeremy Deller considers the topics of Defining Cultural Landscapes. Leading industry folk from pivotal companies such as Film4, Industrial Light & Magic, Nowness, Framestore, Dazed and the BBC will also be present online, sharing first-hand insights from key roles in production, commissioning, screen writing and more.
A variety of passes are available; 24 hour access, seven days or an entire month, with prices starting from £25. Everyone who buys a pass gets access to all of the content that’s available within that time-frame; all live industry events are recorded and available afterwards. This year’s festival is truly exceptional, welcoming back returning patrons, new audiences and a wealth of industry talent. Log in and enjoy.
ASFF 2020 runs 3-30 November. Find out more here.
Words: Beth Webb
Lead image: Still from Under the Waterfall – The Avener. Courtesy of Sebastion Caudron. Part of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival Official Selection 2020.
2. Still from Lying Together. Courtesy of Corey Baker. Part of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival Official Selection 2020.