Every filmmaker has to start somewhere. Since it started in 2011, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival has given a platform to some incredibly talented newcomers, showcasing shorts before they go on to make great in-roads in the film and television industry. Here are five ASFF success stories to enjoy.
The hugely talented Michael Pearce made his 2017 feature debut with Beast, a film that shot both Johnny Flynn and Jessie Buckley to fame, and he’s currently working on his follow-up, entitled Encounter and starring Riz Ahmed. Before either, though, his blackly comic short Keeping Up With The Joneses appeared at the 2014 edition of ASFF.
Writer-director Georgia Oakley saw her short Little Bird, a 1941-set drama starring Imelda Staunton, play at ASFF in 2017, as well as numerous other festivals. Since then, she has had a number of features in development, including an expanded version of Little Bird and two projects with BBC Films, Caramel and Blue Jean. She’s also adapting Anna Hope’s novel Expectation, co-writing with French actress Clémence Poésy.
Named one of Screen International’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’ in 2007, Deborah Haywood has made a series of compelling shorts, including Twinkle, Twinkle which played at ASFF in 2013. The story of two young girls playing Mummies and Daddies set the tone for her debut feature Pin Cushion, starring Lily Newmark and Joanna Scanlan. The film arrived in 2017 and premiered at the Venice Film Festival.
In 2020, Charlotte Regan was selected as one of Screen’s ‘Stars of Tomorrow’. Her short No Ball Games, which took a frank look at working class kids in the UK, was selected for ASFF 2020. The director has also established herself in the world of music videos, crafting promos for Stereophonics and Mumford & Sons.
The story of a reclusive typographer with a deliberating speech problem, Stutterer marked the first short film by Benjamin Cleary. It won Best Drama at ASFF 2015 and went on to win an Oscar for Best Live Action Short. The director has since continued his love-affair with the short film medium, writing and directing Wave, which was narrated by Jarvis Cocker.
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