Great work deserves its due praise, and ASFF entries are no different. All films in the Official Selection are in competition to receive a number of prestigious awards that recognise exceptional filmmaking. With a diverse array of categories to score, winners are chosen by a jury of industry experts and presented at the Closing Night Awards Ceremony, at National Centre for Early Music. Professional connections established through networking opportunities have yielded prominent collaborations and increased recognition, with some films having been selected by attending programmers to screen at other festivals internationally.
ASFF’s Festival Winner is selected from the best of twelve respective genre strands. In addition to receiving £1000 in prize money, previous awardees have earned critical acclaim from other festivals and awards entities. The pedigree speaks for itself: Fabio Palmieri’s documentary Irregulars, ASFF 2016’s Festival Winner, earned recognition at the Hamptons International Film Festival for Best Documentary Short Film and at Aspen Shortsfest for Best Documentary; Benjamin Cleary’s Stutterer, 2015’s Best Drama, went on to score the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2016; Daisy Jacobs’ The Bigger Picture, of the 2014 Official Selection, was not only nominated for Best Animated Short Film in the 2015 Oscar season, but also won a BAFTA the same year for Best British Short Animation. Now, in 2017, ASFF continues its tradition of screening the best cinema on the awards circuit.
Critical acclaim is not the only mark of excellence at ASFF; filmmakers also have the opportunity to garner the appeal of festival-goers through the People’s Choice Award. Stephen Parker won in 2016 with his entry Dust & Resin, a powerful film that was not only part of the Official Selections of the Austin Short Film Fest, Plymouth Film Festival and Toronto International Short Film Festival, but also marks the director’s transition from commercial editing to narrative cinema. 2015’s winner, Acoustic Kitty, directed by Jennifer Sheridan, also scored the Best Cast Ensemble Award and Special Mention at the London Lift Off Film Festival.
But ASFF is not just for the adults in the room, as attending children are invited to critically participate in screenings in the Youth Engagement programme, Thursday, 9 November. The programme’s films are specially curated from the Official Selection for ages 11-14, and encourage young people to develop a lifelong love for cinema. These attendees will be able to vote for their favourite film for the York Youth Award, of which previous winners include Peter Stanley-Ward’s Litterbugs in 2016 and Sam Johnson’s Billy the Kid in 2015.
Finally, a film is only as good as its script, and in honour of that maxim, ASFF hosts the Northern Film School Award for Best Screenplay. Sponsored by the titular school at Leeds Beckett University in supportof talent development, this award earns its recipient £1000 in prize money for the Official Selection’s most outstanding screenplay. Rhonna & Donna, written and directed by Daina Oniunas-Pusic, earned this achievement in 2016, and continued to find success at both the Woods Hole Films Festival and the Brooklyn International Film Festival.
For more information: www.asff.co.uk/awards
1. Trailer for Fabio Palmieri’s Irregulars, Best of Fest winner at ASFF 2016. Courtesy of Vimeo and Not Working Films.