300 Films. 15 Venues. 6 Days. One week to go. The wait is almost over. The 2022 Aesthetica Film Festival is York’s largest cultural event of the year, and it is almost here.
The 12th edition of the festival begins Tuesday 1 November, and we can’t wait for their exciting programme filled with film screenings, social events and opportunities to learn new skills and make new connections.
Over the past 12 years, Aesthetica has showcased an incredible variety of films in 12 genres – from fun family friendly films, laugh-out-loud comedies and gripping thrillers to insightful documentaries and heart-wrenching dramas. A large selection of previous screenings are available here in Aesthetica’s film library, so you can get ready for the upcoming festival.
This year, Aesthetica introduces #YorkDays, which offers York residents the opportunity to save 50% on Select Festival dates. Residents with a valid York Card can access Unlimited Screenings and exclusive premieres, showcasing the best new talent in the world of independent cinema.
Top 10 films to watch
1. Selling Out
– George Hackforth-Jones (2021)
Life as an actress isn’t quite going according to plan for Lucy. During an audition, in which she is repeatedly interrupted – and asked to sound, and look, more Northern – Lucy realises her career isn’t what she’d hoped it would be. As she continues to audition for increasingly strange roles, she feels more and more disheartened. Is she a sell out?
– Ben Marshall (2021)
Cycling is great exercise and a popular hobby… but it can lead to intense rivalries. In MAMILS (or Middle Aged Men in Lycra), two men attempt to out-compete each other in the park whilst an innocent bystander in the form of an elderly watches from behind the safety of his newspaper. In an increasingly outrageous and hilarious instance of one-upmanship, this short comedy takes amateur rivalry to the extreme.
3. Blue Corridor 15
– Dubheaa Lanipekun (2021)
When Elizabeth tells her classmates’ she won’t be able to style their hair for free, they know it’s because her family are struggling. She needs the money, but her friends have different reactions. From this, tensions surrounding identity come to the fore – can friendships be ruined over classroom politics?
4. Everything You Didn’t Say
– Charlie Reader (2019)
Two conversations take place in Everything You Didn’t Say. In one, tensions run ragged beneath the surface of an ordinary evening meal conversation; in the other, uncomfortable truths are spoken in the minds of a couple who regret the five years they’ve spent together.
Over glasses of wine and an anniversary dinner, their relationship unravels.
– Olivia Perkins (2020)
Mack is left alone by his inattentive Mom in an aquarium. She is desperate for love and attention, and in her matching shark hoodie, she finds friendship in the form of a tiger shark. The shark offers her an opportunity: to learn to swim in his tank. As Mack climbs closer and closer to the top of the tank, she starts to have doubts.
– Liukaidi Peng (2019)
This adventures sci-fi comedy uses 3D animation to tell the story of a young man named Bob. He is obsessed with space and has just started work in the space agency. When he pushes to the front of a crowd to see a rocket launch into space, he is struck by lightning. He wakes the next morning, and his life has changed forever.
– Yfke Van Bercklelaer (2019)
Lili sits down for an audition. She has to nail it. But the man she auditions for knows this as well. What begins as a friendly conversation and innocent run-throughs becomes an uncomfortable cat and mouse game as his misuse of power slowly comes to the forefront. This is a #MeToo-inspired unsettling horror.
8. The Retreat
– Marcus Anthony Thomas (2020)
Mia is a young woman plagued by a traumatic event. She is struggling to cope with the life-altering consequences; all she can think to do is seek out the help of a secretive retreat led by a figure named Echo. What seems an inspiring and picturesque piece of countryside is not what it seems, and events quickly turn violent.
9. Bridging the Gap
– Nina Ross and Meg Barrett (2021)
Meg started hearing a voice at 18. In this documentary, she explains the process she went through – who the voice is to her, how she ignored it and how the voice grew anyway. Meg named it VOR, the voice of reason, but what it told her was far from reasonable. She explores how the voice became more delusional and abusive through animation and personal photographs.
– Patrick Taylor (2020)
In this poignant documentary exploring mixed race identities, several young people discuss their experiences – such as when they first thought about their identity, and when other people brought it to their attention. Set against visuals of an interracial couple, Faces is a powerful piece that looks at the joys and challenges of being mixed race.
Discover the full selection of films from all 12 genres in Aesthetica’s Film Library: here. There is one week to go until Aesthetica Film Festival 2022 opens. Make sure to view the film festival programme and book tickets.
Remember: With #YorkDays, tickets start from £12.50 on Select Festival Dates. There are three ticket options: In-Person, Virtual or Hybrid.