Review: Aesthetica Short Film Festival – drama and a masterclass

10 Nov 2013 @ 10.28 pm
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New York and zombies in The Case Of Mary Ford
New York and zombies in The Case Of Mary Ford

Ian ColeIan J Cole continues his reviews of the movies and talks at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival

BAFTA Masterclass with Joakim Sundstrom

I had missed this session in the programme until a fellow media composer had said on Facebook that she was hoping to go, so I popped a quick e-mail off to my ASFF contact asking if I could be add to me the list of participants. Although the email didn’t get through to the guy on the ASFF stand at the York Theatre Royal he just added me to the list.

I think it’s important to say that I feel all of the ASFF staff I’ve come in contact with have been brilliant and deserve recognition for making this festival a success.

The masterclass opened with the showing of a piece of film that Joakim Sundstrom had been involved with, Berberian Sound Studio. This excellent, feature-length excellent psychological thriller set in a 1970s Italian horror film studio is by British director and screenwriter Peter Strickland.

The problem with this initial clip was the sound… it was too loud and distorted thorough the Theatre Royal PA system which was a shame as this brilliant masterclass was all about sound.

It seemed that Joakim had worked on most of the films I’ve seen in the few years including one of my favourites, 24 Hour Party People of which a couple of clips were shown.

Joakim along with the compere, producer Mia Bays, give us a fascinating insight into the work of the sound designer (a title Joakim doesn’t like). He showed us the breakdown of the elements of a film soundtrack by playing first dialogue then effects and finally music for a couple of the movies he’s worked on.

All too soon the masterclass was over so I headed for some drama in the superbly luxurious armchairs at the Thirteen Thirty One cinema.

Drama at Thirteen Thirty One

The first film of the Drama 1 screening was Blackstory by Christoph Brunner and Stefan Brunner and is described as an intertwining story of Lucille, Gabriel, Fred, Sylvester and Max. it’s a very dark tale about sex, drugs, god, death and feng-shui.

Ian’s rating: ★★★


This was followed by Sell By Date by Emma Savage, a witty and poignant look at the challenges of trying to get pregnant and the stress that can put on a relationship.

Ian’s rating: ★★★


The third film was Dirty On The Outside by Leonardo Lafferte. Zaida Belarbi is a foreign woman working in Spain as a cleaner who finds a magic cleaning spray while working in an old man’s flat. This film just missed the beat for me. It was OK but I didn’t really care about the characters or the magic spray.

Ian’s rating: ★★

Days Of Awe by Rehana Rose Khan was a tale told through voice messages left on a young woman’s answerphone but what has happened to her. You need to watch the film to find out.

Ian’s rating: ★★★★


Lastly was The Case Of Mary Ford by Ben Mole set in New York City in 1913. A supernatural drama about a Greek woman, her husband, and her lover, and their escape to America. This is a darkly entertaining gothic film with the sea’s equivalent to a zombie.

Ian’s rating: ★★★★