The Craft of Cinema

As part of our first ever hybrid edition of Aesthetica Short Film Festival, many of our masterclasses and panel discussions are also be available to watch on demand through our digital streaming platform until 30 November.

Watch industry experts from a range of disciplines speak about their craft from the comfort of your own home. But with 50 masterclasses available to stream, what should you watch first? We select 10 unmissable sessions on production, directing, editing and more.

Guardian Documentaries: Films With Impact

Charlie Phillips, Head of Video at The Guardian, will speak in conversation with Piotr Artur Cieplak (Sussex University) about the rise of the documentary in recent years and the types of projects that the Guardian is making, and their wider impact. Recent productions include Colette, winner of the 2021 Oscar for short documentary, as well as Black Sheep, Somalinimo and Bright Lights – all of which have recently screened at ASFF. Hear from one of the world’s leading commissioners of short form documentary.

The A-Z of Filmmaking: Turning An Idea Into Reality

There is a saying around here: “it’s just an idea away.” However, where do your ideas come from and what does it really take to turn an idea into a film? In this session, a panel of filmmakers from this year’s Official Selection discuss individual methods and approaches towards filmmaking, from developing character and plot, to bringing the bigger picture to life. They will offer practical tips for production and explore the creative process from script to screen. An essential panel discussion that covers the journey from start to finish.

The Executive Producer’s Tale: Lizzie Francke

Lizzie Francke started out as a critic and curator before moving into producing and then executive producing for the BFI Film Fund. With a range of credits including Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy, William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth, Lynne Ramsey’s You Were Never Really Here, Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Hong Khaou’s Monsoon, Ben Sharrock’s Limbo and Cathy Brady’s Wildfire, Francke’s role is to bring pioneering contemporary voices to the screen. Francke shares valuable insights.

BBC Film: Developing New Voices

BBC Film supports invigorating and imaginative filmmaking, with credits including recent British successes Ammonite, Supernova, His House and After Love. Development Executive Dionne Farrell joins emerging directors John Ogunmuyiwa (Mandem) and Sophie Littman (Jellyfish) to discuss the development process, working with new talent and routes into filmmaking. Expect pragmatic advice on finding your voice, getting projects off the ground and realising your vision. Learn how to bring your ideas to life.

Beyond Diversity: Building Inclusive Futures 

Diversity and Inclusion have become such overused terms that they’re starting to lose their meaning. What does it really mean to be a diverse and inclusive organisation? And how can we realise that ideal in a slow moving, often change resistant industry? Artist and disability advocate Esther Fox, and Bob Clarke, CEO of training scheme the MAMA Youth project, join us to look beyond the buzzwords for a candid and radical discussion about representation in the creative industries. An invitation to build a truly inclusive future.

The Wonderful World Of Animation

From hand-drawn characters on celluloid sheets to world-bending CGI, animation has long inspired audiences with its boundless potential. Hear from Tom Box, Co-Founder of the multi-BAFTA-winning Blue Zoo (The Adventures of Paddington, Miffy), stop motion director Anthony Farquhar Smith (Fantastic Mr Fox, Corpse Bride) and ASFF alumnus and BAFTA award-winning animator Maryam Mohajer (Grandad Was A Romantic) as they delve into the wonderful world of animation production.

From Adaptation to Oscar Nomination: Sally Potter OBE

Sally Potter is a legendary filmmaker whose ground-breaking films have earned her a rightful place in cinema history. Trained as a dancer, Potter moved into filmmaking in the 1970s, forging a reputation as a fiercely feminist filmmaker with The Golddiggers, Orlando and The Party. Her most recent non-linear drama, The Road Not Taken, demonstrates that she remains a filmmaker of rare vision and imagination. Potter joins us for a conversation that will span five decades. Hosted by Mia Bays, Birds’ Eye View.

Found in the Edit: Rising through the Ranks

Mick Audsley is a leading film editors with more than 40 feature credits to his name. He has worked on numerous projects, including Murder on the Orient Express for Kenneth Branagh and The Personal History of David Copperfield. He will speak in conversation with Pani Scott, who has been his assistant editor for over a decade, as well as editor Jeremiah O’ Driscoll who ascended from assistant editor to working for Robert Zemeckis. Audsley, O’Driscoll and Scott invite us into the cutting room, asking what it takes to “find” a film in the edit.

Documentaries that Change the World: Asif Kapadia

Academy Award, four-time BAFTA-winning and recent Grierson Award garlanded filmmaker Asif Kapadia has worked across both fiction and documentary with credits including The Warrior (starring the late, great Irrfan Khan), Senna, Amy and the recent Diego Maradona. In this illustrated masterclass with Jason Wood (HOME) Kapadia discusses his extensive career, influences and hopes for a more diverse industry and his pioneering work in creating hugely influential portraits of often flawed and troubled icons

Craig Roberts: Acting and Directing

British actor, director, writer and producer Craig Roberts’ third directorial feature, The Phantom Of The Open, starring Mark Rylance and written by Simon Farnaby, will be released this Autumn by Sony Pictures Classics. Craig’s second directorial effort, Eternal Beauty a poignant film about mental health starring Sally Hawkins, was nominated for five BAFTA Cymru Awards. His breakthrough role was Oliver Tate in Richard Ayoade’s Submarine. Hear him speak about his career as he offers insight into multiple roles.


The 2021 Aesthetica Short Film Festival runs online until 30 November. Virtual tickets are still available to purchase here. Log in to our virtual platform here.