Five events not to miss at York’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival

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With York’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival marking its fifth anniversary this weekend, founder Cherie Federico picks her highlights of the event.

It’s hard to believe that York’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival has been going for five years. Showcasing the best fillmaking talent across a number of genres from thriller to drama, experimental to fashion for a few days each year we take over the city. The festival starts today and runs throughout the weekend and I honestly believe the fifth anniversary programme is the best we’ve ever had.

1. Framestore
Creating mind-blowing imagery for films including Avengers: Age of Ultron, Jupiter Ascending, and Guardians of the Galaxy, Framestore has won every major industry award including the 2014 Oscar and BAFTA for Best Visual Effects for Gravity. Some of Framestore’s creative talents will be at this year’s festival to talk about how the company continually breaks new ground as well as offering advice to those who want to break into the industry.

2. Filmmaking in China 
This year, ASFF turns its attention to independent filmmaking in China with a special screening curated by director Ting Liu. A mixture of observational drama and frank documentary-making, these films delve into the world of punk music and youth culture through the eyes of teenagers living in China today; as well as the older generations adapting to keep up with the rapidly transforming social environment of the country. Don’t miss Horoscope, an off-beat offering from Chinese filmmaker Maya Rudolph. Every morning on their way to school Xixin and Xiao read their daily horoscopes. However, one day their interest is sparked by a fellow bus passenger and the two girls discover that their fate is not always written down.

3. Anniversary Screening
To mark the event’s anniversary, ASSF will be screening a compendium of short film from previous years. Showing across two special screenings, this programme will be accompanied by a panel discussion and will include a number of past winners like Harald Hutter’s whose short film Léthé topped the Best Experimental category at last year’s event. Gabriel is a middle-aged and going nowhere until he crosses paths with Kara. When she invites him to go astray, he embarks on a journey neither of them will ever forget. 

3. Drama 
Many of this year’s dramas capture a single moment, where everyday life takes a sudden, unexpected departure. One of the most intriguing is Strange Weather. Maxine Peake stars in Tom Shrapnel’s film about the unusual love story between two strangers. With their senses reawakened after witnessing a mysterious natural phenomenon, a bereaved woman and a lonely man, find themselves drawn together.

4. Fashion
The fashion stream was first introduced last year and was such a success it returns again this year. The collection includes Monica Menez’s short Odditory. Set in a university lecture theatre where the students, all sporting cheap nylon wigs, they find themselves getting an unusual lesson in how to create sound. This quirky short captured the attention of judges at the 2013 Berlin Film Festival where it was voted Best Fashion Film.

For a full programme of events go to