What to watch at the Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2014

3 Nov 2014 @ 5.06 pm
| News

This week York turns into a giant pop-up cinema. The fourth Aesthetica Short Film Festival will see venues across the city host intense, strange, moving and funny mini movies.

Quick facts

  15 city centre venues

  Thu Nov 6 to Sun Nov 9

  Single ticket: £5; one day screening pass: £15; four day unlimited pass: £30 (less for children and students)

On sale at Visit York and Bar 1331

  The ASFF website

Now accredited by BAFTA, the festival will screen 300 films from 40 countries in 15 venues.

During the four day event you might encounter – in no particular order – Lady Gaga, a hideous infant monster, singing seals, folk rituals of the Norfolk Broads, independent undertakers, a country and western-singing gynaecologist and Scrabble.

“ASFF offers a unique blend of historic buildings with contemporary world cinema, appealing to everyone including a younger audience with our specially curated family friendly programme,” said festival director Cherie Federico.

“Through industry activities and an awards line-up, the festival promotes the careers of British and international filmmakers while positioning York as one of the UK’s leading creative cities.”

There are loads of masterclasses, parties and opportunities to meet filmmakers. As for the films themselves, well take your pick…

Big names

Maxine Peake, who stars in Silk and The Village on TV, and became the first female Hamlet for 35 years, is one of a host of big names in the short films.

She features in two selections, as the mother in a film about family secrets adapted from a Hilary Mantel story, The Heart Fails Without Warning, and the MP’s wife Celia in thriller Keeping Up With The Joneses.

Model and actor Lily Cole takes the lead in Lorna Tucker’s fashion film Red Shoes.

Elsewhere in the festival you’ll find Early Doors star John Henshall in father-son drama The Ringer, and The Bourne Ultimatum actor Mark Bazeley in Patient 39, about a soldier with memory loss.

The inimitable Richard Wilson narrates Alex Horsfall’s comedy Making Ends Meat, while Anne Reid from Dinnerladies is in Yorkshire comedy Tea Time In Haworth


If you’ve got a junior film buff, then get them along to the family friendly screenings, suitable for children aged four to 12.

Films include award-winning The Gallant Captain, which follows a boy and his cat as they journey beyond the familiar with a boat, a small bottle and a vivid imagination.

Another ocean-based story is Ain’t No Fish, a stop-motion animation featuring singing seals. Look out to for a grumpy grizzly bear in The Importance of Being Bear, and Kat Sapling, about a young griffin who grows a tree to protect himself.


Like being on the edge of your seat? Watch through your fingers as Anna goes looking a prowler in her house in Gently Gently.

In Newborn an young monster attacks residents in a block of flats, while Status is set in the future when social networking is not on a smartphone but controls your brain…


A vast array of drama includes Manny Gets Censored, voiced by Hugo Weaving, in which a heartbroken man wakes to find his life censored by the film board.

In Living With Someone, we enter the imaginative world of Alice, who dreams of being
a singer and working as a projectionist in a cinema.

Persistence, by York St John University’s Sebastian Synowiec, is a war film which follows the passion and patriotism of young men and women who dedicated their life to fight for freedom.


Wallace D Popple is having A Bad Day At The Office. But, this off-beat comedy asks, is his luckless day just desserts for a spineless existence in a job he despises?

Another British short sees Keith and Val going Dogging, as they attempt to try something new to spice up their marriage.

From Italy, Gli Zii (The Uncles) sees two brothers go to extreme measures to protect their 17-year-old niece, abandoned on their doorstep 17 years earlier.


As any serious film buff knows, animation is not just for kids. Among another remarkable selection comes Zombie & Doggy, when a man infected by the undead shelters at home with his hound.

In US short Owned you can meet Jeff, the undisputed Ultra Mega Video Game Champion of All Time, until he finally encounters a worthy foe.

And Star Trek actor turned Twitter ninja George Takei narrates The Missing Scarf, an Irish black comedy exploring some of life’s common fears.


The real world in all its variety is represented at Aesthetica.

From Austria, Next Stop: Reset sees two sisters retrace the route their grandfather took across Europe nearly 60 years earlier.

From France, Le Taxidermiste is an intimate portrait of professional taxidermist Jacques Gilbert.

And from the United Arab Emirates, Half Emirati explores the social implications of being a
mixed-race child in the UAE.

Fashion and advertising

New this year, the festival presents a fashion strand. Experience the glamour and style of fashion films
produced by the likes of Vivienne Westwood, Swarovski, Louis Vuitton, Trager Delaney and Karen Millen.

From France, a fun and flirty film previews the 2014 spring and summer Morgan collection, Chamade.

You can also join a masterclass with fashion filmmaker and curator Kathryn Ferguson, who has worked on productions for Selfridges, Chloe and Lady Gaga.

A complementary strand dedicated to advertising films features work promoting everything from non-profit organisation Refugees United to bespoke tailors Gieves & Hawkes.

Music, art and experimental

Music videos from artists including The Magician, A Band Called Quinn and The Correspondents feature in the festival.

There is also a section dedicated to artists’ films, such as Chloë And The Helicopter by Matt Mead.

And the most adventurous strand is for experimental films, which this year include entries from India, Belgium, Chile and Finland.

Filmed and Not Forgotten

A still from the film presented by Yorkshire Film Archive
A little girl in a pinafore dress runs across the parade of the York and Lancaster Regiment by
Skeldergate Bridge, to say goodbye to her father before he goes to war.

It is just one of the fleeting moments captured on film that the Yorkshire Film Archive has preserved and will present at a special screening of Filmed and Not Forgotten on Remembrance Sunday, November 9.

  For all the Aesthetica Short Film Festival events, see our What’s On guide

  More cinema

  More previews