There is no doubt that a festival atmosphere adds something to a city. Be it Edinburgh for the fringe, or even somewhere like Bradford for the international film festival, there is an undeniable energy when people who are passionate about an artform gather in one city or town to celebrate their passion.
The Aesthetica Film Festival has achieved something really quite extraordinary. In the space of just two years, it has established itself as one of the top short film festivals out there, in no small part thanks to the energy of founder Cherie Federico, but also the impressive line-up of masterclass lecturers and the unusual venues which open their doors to cinema fans.
At the Friday masterclasses the god of the indie film world, Chris Jones was positively Reithian in his role, educating and informing the small but passionate gathering. For those who don’t know him, Jones is the author of the indie film-maker’s bible, The Guerilla Film Makers Handbook. His class was as inspiring as it was illuminating.
As well as the classes for budding film-makers, a festival like this is also, always, about the films. Short films are, by their nature, generally made by early career film-makers. It means it can be a hit and miss affair in terms of quality, but what the ASFF line-up appeared to do most effectively was make sure there was always a gem. In the Drama 11 strand the gem was, without a doubt, Hollow by Rob Sorrenti. An intense and powerful story, it was clear that here was a director at the start of a long and successful career. The film, about addiction within a relationship, was stunning – it was little surprise the film went on to win the People’s Choice for the festival.
Roll on next year.