All films in the festival Official Selection are in competition to receive a number of awards. These awards recognise outstanding talent in filmmaking practice, and are a prestigious accolade.
The winning films for 2018 were selected by a jury of industry experts including Aleks Dimitrijevic (Festival Producer, The Smalls); Alice Ramsey (BFI Network Talent Executive, Film Hub North); Emmanuel Anyiam-Osigwe (Festival Director, British Urban Film Festival); Iain Gardner (Animation Programmer, Edinburgh International Film Festival); Jaime Estrada-Torres (Film Editor); Julian Foddy (VFX Supervisor, Industrial Light & Magic); Kit Monkman (Artist & Film Director, KMA); Lauren Houlton (Events Programmer, Jerwood Visual Art); Mike Stubbs (Director, FACT); Niccolò Montanari (Fashion Film Curator and Publicist); Rebecca Mark-Lawson (Producer, Tyke Films); Sheyma Buali (Festival Director, BBC Arabic Festival); Simran Hans (Writer and film critic, The Observer); Tom Ivin (Director/Producer, i-D).
Taking home the Best of Fest, as well as the Best Documentary was Black Sheep which told the story of Cornelius Walker and the murder of Damilola Taylor, in what became one of the UK’s most high-profile cases. Directed by Ed Perkins, the film also received the Northern Film School Award for Best Screenplay, judged by Cherie Federico, Director of Aesthetica, Annabelle Pangborn, Director of the Northern Film School, and Dan Weldon, Senior Lecturer.
Sponsoring a brand new award, Film Hub North and BFI NETWORK presented Faye Carr-Wilson, director of Venus, with the Film Hub North Filmmaker Award. Screened as part of Northumbria University’s Showcase Screening and Panel Discussion, the awards presents an opportunity to develop a new project with the editorial and professional development support of the BFI NETWORK Northern Talent Executives.
This year also saw the addition of Feature Films to ASFF’s programme for the first time, with the Best Narrative Feature going to Dimitri de Clercq’s You Go To My Head, recounting the narrative of a woman with amnesia, who, following a mysterious car accident, meets a man claiming to be her husband. In 1993, de Clercq won an International Emmy Award for The Wonderful, Horrible Life of Leni Riefenstahl.
Best Documentary Feature was awarded to Almost Heaven, directed by Carol Salter, which explores the tender and life-affirming portrait of a young woman training to be a mortician in one of China’s largest funeral homes. Salter is a documentary director who specialises in telling intimate stories from around the world. Her short Unearthing the Pen was the winning film of the Aesthetica shorts 2011 DVD, launched in conjunction with Aesthetica Magazine.
Celebrating the development of new technologies, this year also welcomed VR, Immersive and 360 film screenings into the competition, in partnership with London College of Communication. The Best VR Film was awarded to Ingejan Ligthart Schenk and Jamille van Wijngaarden’s Ashes to Ashes, which invited viewers into the story of a dysfunctional family burdened with the bizarre final wish of their deceased grandmother.
Across the weekend, festival-goers also had a chance to nominate their favourite film from the Official Selection, with Andrew Muir’s Turning Tide taking home the People’s Choice Award.
For shorts, the Best Drama award was presented to Christopher Haydon’s In Wonderland, the story of a life experienced together, beginning and ending in the same moment. Looking towards the darker side of humanity, Barnaby Blackburn’s Wale was awarded Best Thriller, the story of an 18-year-old mechanic, who learned his trade whilst at a young offenders institution.
As one of ASFF’s most popular genres, Alice Seabright’s Sex Ed took home the award for Best Comedy, the story of a teacher who can’t keep his personal problems to himself during a sex education class. Whilst revelling in the liberation of creativity, Ian Bruce’s hand-painted animation Double Portrait won Best Animation.
Tapping into brand ethos, Giacomo Boeri and Matteo Grimaldi’s Start the Buzz – Milan Fashion Week was awarded the Best Advertising, whilst Best Fashion went to C41 Magazine X Adidas Originals Prophere, directed by Leone Balduzzi. Celebrating the art of performance, Best Dance went to Dances with Circles, directed by Paul McLean, and Best Music Video went to Aleon Eder’s I Am Sex, directed by Yuval Haker.
As one of the most visceral and all-encompassing strands of the festival, Best Artists’ Film was given to the dual screen video installation from bielecki&bielecka, titled Author of Expectations, and Best Experimental awarded to Jay Bernard’s Something Said, a response to the black British archives.
Lastly, the York Youth Award was chosen by students who attended the Youth Engagement Programme, featuring a series of curated films designed to encourage critical engagement and understanding of the filmmaking process. This year the award was given to Camlo, directed by David Moody.
Previous winners at ASFF have gone on to achieve further award success, including Oscar nomination (The Silent Child, Chris Overton in 2017), wins at the Oscars (Stutterer, Benjamin Cleary, in 2016) and BAFTAs (The Bigger Picture, Daisy Jacobs, in 2015) and have broadened their audience beyond the film festival circuit. Festival programmers in attendance at ASFF have selected ASFF films to screen at other festivals internationally, and professional connections made at ASFF have resulted in several high-profile collaborations.
For more information about the ASFF winners and awards, click here.
1. Still from Black Sheep.
2. Still from Start the Buzz – Milan Fashion Week.
3. Still from You Go To My Head.
4. Still from Something Said.