Famously, cinema is an empathy machine – a space where we engage, connect and see the world through the eyes of others.
This year’s Guest Programmes are as wild, weird and wonderful as life itself. Spanning vast distances, with focuses including South Africa, Indonesia, Iraq, Afghanistan and China, this strand also includes myriad reflections on our own country. Complex perspectives on intersectional British identity are everywhere. Many of these programmes respond directly to recent history. Our three-part programme exploring the legacy of 9/11 feels painfully timely, considering the recent events in Afghanistan.
Read more about some of our most exciting guest programmes and the opportunities they provide to experience someone else’s point of view. Join us and immerse yourself in ideas, images and dreams beyond your own, and in doing so, open yourself up to new horizons, landscapes and cultures.
We Are Who We Are
The different facets of our identities are as varied as they are personal – and yet we live in a world in which the societal desire for neat definitions and convenient catch-all categories are often at odds with the rich expressions of what makes an individual who they truly are. This collection of films explores the intersection – and frequent bouts of friction – between our authentic selves and the identities that are expected of us in day-to-day life.
Tuesday 2 November, 14:00 – 15:30, City Screen
Mother Tongue: Decolonising Cinema
In this innovative and unique programme, Bounce presents a selection of shorts celebrating the breadth of world cinema today. Exploring the mother tongues of filmmakers and international cinema, this collection is dedicated to decolonising film. Discover bold stories from around the globe that explore identity, humanity and the pressures of living in the world in 2021.
Tuesday 2 November, 16:00 – 17:30, Bootham School
Oska Bright, which has been running since 2004, is the world’s biggest learning disability film festival. Addressing the fact that disabled people make up only five per cent of the off-screen workforce in film and television, the festival centres the work of filmmakers with learning disabilities or autism, showcasing bold, exciting, unique voices that struggle to be heard elsewhere. This year’s programme offers a rich and varied taste of standout films from past editions of the festival.
Tuesday 2 November, Virtual Release Only
Foresight: An Urgent Anthology
Foresight is a compilation of short films set in the UK that imagine the future for Black and Brown characters. Where do they go from here? What kind of lives will they lead? Who will they meet along the Way?
Wednesday 3 November, 14:00 – 15:00, City Screen
Everymen: A Celebration of Trans Masculinity
The Transgender Film Center is a filmmaker-led organisation, which helps trans creators to bring their work to audiences around the world. Despite the recent boom in queer storytelling, transmasculine experiences remain under-documented in film as a whole. In response to this relative invisibility, TFC founder Sav Rodgers brings us a programme focusing on transmasculine narratives.
Thursday 4 November, Virtual Release Only
9/11, Twenty Years On Part 1: Memories, Monuments
As a crucial component to our programme this year, we commemorate 20 years since the attack on the Twin Towers, with a three-part series examining the impact and aftermath of this era-defining event. How do we remember traumatic events? And what happens when those memories begin to fade?
Friday 6 November, 14:00 – 15:30, Bootham School
Roots, Seeds, Flowers, Fruit
T A P E specialises in curating groundbreaking programmes which centre the voices of BIPOC and female filmmakers. These shorts are made by women of Muslim faith or heritage, shattering stereotypes within and outside of the community. Motifs of ceremony, ritual and domesticity recur, playfully blurring the boundaries between cultural, religious and political spheres. Fragmented, dreamlike narratives mimic the ebb and flow of collective memory, touching upon Islamic lore and history to offer a complex portrait of contemporary Muslim womanhood which challenges assumptions.
Friday 6 November, 16:00 – 17:30, York Theatre Royal
Journeys Into Film
After the political upheavals of the last few years, followed by the closing of borders during the pandemic, many of us have been reflecting on our rights of movement. This programme is presented in partnership with Journeys Festival International, an organisation who commission work made by artists exploring the refugee experience. Featuring only filmmakers who have lived experiences of forced migration.
Friday 6 November, Virtual Release Only
Queer Joy: The LGBTQ+ Experience
Although onscreen portrayals of LGBTQ+ lives are becoming more varied and sophisticated all the time, the majority of media still centres trauma when depicting queer characters. Whilst everyone will experience struggle in their lives, and we are still a long way from a truly equal society, the LGBTQ+ experience can also be a profoundly joyful one. The Iris Prize is proud to present a selection of films which brim with energy, exuberance and laughter. Romantic, sexy, silly and often funny, these short films challenge assumptions and are guaranteed to bring some joy to your life.
Saturday 7 November, 18:00 – 19:00, York St John Fountains
Saturday 7 November, Virtual Release Only
Aesthetica Stars of the Future PT.1
Since the first Aesthetica Film Festival in 2011, we have had the privilege of screening thousands of shorts from all over the world. This includes the likes of BIFA-winning Rose Glass (director of the 2019 sensation Saint Maud), Scottish BAFTA award-winner Duncan Cowles (The Lady with the Lamp, Soft Toffee, Radio Silence) and Prano Bailey-Bond, whose debut feature film, Censor, screened at Sundance Film Festival. Join us for a selection of films from the last decade that celebrate ingenuity and directorial vision.
Saturday 7 November, 13:30 – 15:00, York St John Fountains