300 independent films on your doorstep
EXPERIENCE a vast range of films from around the world with the Official Selection, Guest Programmes and New Wave screenings. This year’s outstanding selection includes films by Ricky Gervais, Maxine Peake, Ben Whishaw and Oscar-winner Tim Webber.
The Official Selection is curated with more than 300 films spanning 12 exciting genres, covering comedy, drama, animation, documentary, family friendly, thriller and more. Guest Programmes come from BFI Doc Society, Iris Prize and We Are Parable among others. New Wave spotlights new talent and is the only strand in a UK festival to showcase graduate films, introducing the filmmakers of the future.
UK film festival first: Pioneering Games Lab
THE Legend Of Zelda: Tears Of The Kingdom sold 10 million copies in three days, making it the fastest-selling game in Nintendo history. Games enable players to interact with stories like never before, from journeying through vast open worlds to navigating mesmeric VR (virtual reality) experiences.
Aesthetica sees the games industry evolving and wants to spotlight and celebrate all that interactive media offer, proudly becoming the first British film festival to develop a Games Lab alongside the film screenings, VR and immersive experiences.
Head to Spark:York to play your way through 40 captivating titles, from squirrel mysteries to mythical island escapades, as these Official Selection games immerse users in imaginative worlds.
Masterclasses and Panel Discussions
WHETHER you are an actor, cinematographer, director, developer, producer, screenwriter or a film aficionado, ASFF has world-class masterclasses to suit you, bringing together big names from across film, games and VR. Speakers include representatives from Aardman, Guardian Documentaries, the BFI, Film4, Ridley Scott Associates, Ubisoft and BBC Writersroom.
The list of directors, producers and visual effects specialists have worked such iconic projects as: Avengers: Endgame, Bridgerton, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever, Gravity, Ready Player One, Wallace And Gromit, and much more.
Family Friendly screenings: Bring the whole family
INSPIRE your children with a selection of incredible films. The whole family can experience the best in independent cinema at Family Friendly film screenings of comedies, engaging dramas and fun-filled animations. Follow compelling characters, from a brave hummingbird to a shy presenter, in shorts that encourage us to be our best selves. ASFF’s three reels are divided into ascending age groups.
Screen School VR Lab: Expanded Realities here in York
THE possibilities of 360° film are endless. Immersive experiences like these bring audiences closer to the action than ever before, positioning them in both real and entirely imagined environments.
Aesthetica and LCC’s (London College Of Communication) Screen School invite you to dive into a bold selection of imaginative stories. Embark on a multi-sensory journey as you explore the world of 360 cinema. The VR Lab will be held at The Basement, City Screen Picturehouse, alongside panel discussions at York Explore. To join virtually, buy a cardboard headset and experience at home.
Networking Sessions: Meet filmmakers
BUILD relationships, seek out collaborations and make lasting memories. Whether you are looking to connect with industry representatives, discover new opportunities or learn new approaches to filmmaking, Networking Sessions are the perfect opportunity to meet with film sector professionals and share ideas. 2023’s representatives are from renowned organisations such as Canon, The Pitch Film Fund and York special effects studio Viridian FX.
Insightful Workshops: Learn new skills
TRAVEL to the past to uncover the tactile magic of traditional printmaking or look to exciting futures with Test Bed of AI Generators and Writing in 360: A Practical Workshop. A series of workshops will run at Pitcher & Piano, StreetLife Hub, The Guildhall and York Theatre Royal’s Studio, with a host of key organisations, ranging from the London College of Communication and The Pitch Film Fund to Viridian FX and Canon.
These practical workshops are centred around expanded realities, making them essential for those looking to try out new technologies and learn from industry professionals.
Three Exhibitions: Sound & Photography
THE premiere of Flux & Possibilities, Martyn Riley’s deep listening, multi-channel sound installation, explores personal identities and histories at Bedern Hall. Created in partnership with Aesthetica, LCC and Audible, it invites you to listen to numerous female-identifying interviewees across different locations and generations, revealing their personal stories of feminism, inequality and gendered spaces.
Look out too for a film poster exhibition at the StretLife hub and photography exhibition, Inside (Out), featuring three female photographers, at City Screen Picturehouse, both in Coney Street.
Pitching Sessions: Speak with the experts
DEVELOPING a new short or feature project? ASFF offers a series of 20-minute pitching sessions where experts provide guidance on how to develop ideas, break into the industry and further your distribution goals.
These sessions will be led by delegates from BBC Film, Goldfinch, Film4, Guardian Documentaries and Neal Street Productions across various days at Malmaison York, as well as virtually. Pre-selection and applications are required.
Kids’ Workshops: Filmmaking & Games
ASFF believes in nurturing children’s creative potential. New for this year, children can attend workshops to learn how to direct, edit and make films. Budding game developers can join Impact Games to learn what goes into creating the games they love.
Pauline Quirke Academy will lead workshops for young directors keen to get behind the camera, shout “action” and “cut” and tell their unique stories.
Two types of workshops will run: filmmaking and gaming, where children can learn how to code and develop their own games.
Aesthetica Short Film Festival runs in York from November 8 to 12; full programme and tickets at asff.co.uk.