Some 24,000 tickets are expected to be sold for more than 100 screenings at venues across the city during the next four days.
The Aesthetica Short Film Festival began life as a DVD glued to the cover of an arts magazine, but is now a recognised outlet for young filmmakers.
The Silent Child, one of last year’s entries, inspired by the true story of a deaf, four-year-old girl whose social worker teaches her communication skills, went on to take the Oscar for best live action short film earlier this year.
“These are filmmakers who you have the opportunity to catch at this early stages of their careers and many will go on to become household names. There’s something very exciting about that,” said editor Cherie Federico, who founded Aesthetica when she was a student in York.
She added: “There’s a real skill in being able to tell an entire story that engages an audience in 30 minutes or under. That’s talent.”
This year’s 18 awards will be presented on Sunday at the Yorkshire Museum.