Promoting Independent Cinema

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival champions talent, whether it be in the selection and showcase of over 400 shorts, or to the masterclasses on offer to the public. Our ethos is based upon acknowledging and enhancing the development of emerging and established filmmakers from all walks of life, whilst spreading interest in independent cinema. As such, a programme of tailored talks reflect these intentions. Paced across two days, these unique events were open to anyone and everyone interested in the changing landscape of film. We provide a round up from some of the exciting topics that were on offer to challenge and inspire your creative vision for 2017.

Finding the Right Strategy for Your Film

Kick-starting a day of unmissable sessions, Festival Formula’s Katie McCullough drew on more than a decade of experience in the film world from working with an array of high-ranking clients. She provided audiences with useful tips, hints and strategies on how to focus on the strengths of cinematic entries to enhance success. McCullough surveyed how to maximise a budget, alongside advice on how to develop a profile on the fair circuit. Established and emerging directors alike benefitted from lessons in these foundational, and often ignored, elements of the industry.

Programming a Film Festival

A panel examining the ins and outs of scheduling an event like ASFF brought together seven institutions to describe the selection process. Figures from across the trade packed into York St John University’s beautiful Quad South Hall to provide invaluable insights to filmmakers on what they look for in an entry. Programmers included those from Aesthetica, Cork, LSFF, EIFF, Encounters, Flatpack and Dublin. An inside view into the mindset and logic of those behind the festival gives audiences an awareness of the criteria applications are tested by, an edge that can be applied to future submissions.

BBC: Commissioning for Comedy

Kristian Smith, from the BBC, alongside Agent Kate Haldance from PBJ Management, Producer Gill Isles (Peter Kay’s Car Share, Rovers) and Writer Caroline Moran (Raised by Wolves) came together to deliberate on everything our festival-goers needed to know about commissioning. Smith, with extensive cinematic knowledge from working on Boy Meets Girl, Uncle and Blondings chaired the captivating panel conversation exploring all areas of the topic, from the development of an idea to getting noticed on the pitch. As formal hurdles often stop  creative ideas in their tracks, this masterclass was essential viewing for those looking to enter the market, walking away were artists who no longer let inexperience get in the way of their success.

Navigating the Industry

Sara Putt drew aspiring and recognised filmmakers alike to YSJU at ASFF 2016. Sara Putt Associates is a leading independent UK agency, and diary service for professionals, who have worked on productions such as Doctor Strange, The Jungle Book and Snow White & the Huntsman. She has worked alongside BAFTA and on several shorts, drawing on these experiences to advise audiences on how to best immerse themselves in the landscape and build their careers both in front of the camera and behind the scenes.

The next edition of ASFF is going to be bigger and better, with even more possibilities for learning and networking. Stay tuned for the news of all the exciting events planned and prepare to join the journey from 8-12 November with your ideas, questions and innovation.

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1. Jim Poyner (2016).