A Month of Film

At Aesthetica, we believe in the power of independent film and create an environment where we can all share creativity – including in the online realm. This year’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival may have drawn to a close on Sunday, but viewers still have the chance to deep dive into the 2021 programme from the comfort of their homes and curate their own virtual festival.

Those with the virtual pass can log in to the festival site via phone, tablet, computer and Smart TV. Use the search bar on screen to navigate the site and access content via name, topic or theme. You can also refine your search by clicking on either category, genre or production country.

All this year’s official selection films are curated by genre and released in six key strands: How It Was, How It Is, How It Will Be; Humanity On The Edge; When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade; Pleased To Meet You; Mirror Mirror; and Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free.

All the festival’s prize-winning films can be found, including Alfie Barker’s docu-drama Hanging On, which claimed Best Film and Best Documentary at this year’s awards, and Maria Martinez Bayona’s Such Small Hands, set in a girls’ orphanage, which took home Best Thriller and Best Cinematography.

For those looking to find the next generation of filmmakers, the New Wave strand is essential viewing. Offering new voices, new ideas and new perspectives, these collections are collated from some of the UK’s best film schools: York St. John University, Lincoln School of Film and Media, Regents, London College of Communication, London College of Fashion and University of York.

Guest Programmes are also available – films that will offer you the opportunity to experience someone else’s point of view and to immerse yourself in ideas, images and dreams beyond your own. This year saw an incredible selection, including the three-part 9/11, Twenty Years On, offering myriad reflections and perspectives of the terrorist attack on the Twin Towers.

From the Virtual Reality Lab comes your chance to explore our selection of 360 films, including Jonathan Sims’ Be Your Own Dentist, a serene journey of self-discovery and oral surgery with renowned drag performer Katya (RuPaul’s Drag Race). Also among the selection is Sari Katharyn’s hypnotic Luna, a film that takes us inside a girl’s mind. Get the full 360 experience with the at-home VR headset, available when you purchase your Festival pack.

Also on demand are this year’s incredible selection of masterclasses and live events. You can join Jason Wood as he interviews Oscar-winning documentary filmmaker Asif Kapadia about his career or listen to actress Maxine Peake discuss her remarkable body of work on screen. Boundary-pushing filmmakers like Peter Strickland and Gerard Johnson were also on-hand to talk about the craft of filmmaking.

Industry panels discussions are also ready to watch, such as The Future of Film Festivals, chaired by former BFI London Film Festival head Clare Stewart, and The Changing Face of Film Criticism, hosted by journalist and author Terri White. With industry experts offering up their expertise in everything from casting to visual effects, there is a wealth of content to enjoy.

So what are you waiting for? Get viewing.


The Aesthetica Short Film Festival is available online until 30 November. Virtual passes available to purchase here. To log in to the ASFF 2021 digital platform, please click: https://aestheticafilmfestival.filmchief.com/hub/sign-in