This November, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival (ASFF) returns to York, offering film lovers the opportunity to experience outstanding independent film whilst exploring one of Britain’s oldest and most beautiful cities. As we gear up to announce the 2016 Official Selection, we’re looking at the 18 diverse venues playing host to this year’s event. From iconic, historic sites to contemporary hotspots and hidden gems, this dynamic range includes boutique cinemas, medieval halls and art galleries. All the festival venues are in walking distance of each other, meaning time between film screenings and events can be spent sampling York’s great coffee or wandering down The Shambles.
The ASFF journey begins at Visit York, the tourist information centre and ASFF hub, where festival tickets and passes as well as maps and information about York will be available. If you’re looking for some of York’s history within the city centre then look no further than the King’s Manor, a beautiful redbrick Grade I listed medieval building. Originally built to house the abbots of St. Mary’s Abbey – which now lies in ruins in the Museum Gardens – the manor has witnessed some of England’s most iconic moments in history, such as the dissolution of abbeys under King Henry VIII’s rule (in 1539) and the Glorious Revolution of 1688. It is now home to the University of York’s Department of Archaeology, Centre for Medieval Studies and Centre for Eighteenth Century Studies.
If instead you wish to explore the cultural scene of York, then ASFF has chosen the city’s highlights. First established in 1734, York Theatre Royal has been at the heart of York for over 200 years and is now one of the country’s leading producing theatres. Recently refurbished for 2016, the Theatre – much like the city of York itself – encompasses a hotchpotch of different periods; the interior is Georgian and its façade is Victorian, a Roman well hides beneath the stage and the remains of a 12th century hospital lies under the foundations. This year, York Theatre Royal will host ASFF’s Opening Night Showcase Screening, where audience members can view the films that kicked off ASFF 2016. This event is a great introduction to the festival and perfect for first time festivalgoers, allowing the opportunity to view, in one screening, the breadth of films on offer at ASFF.
Just a five-minute walk away from York Theatre Royal is Thirteen Thirty One, a gastro-bar and boutique cinema. Situated in the city’s lively Latin Quarter, Thirteen Thirty One is a hub of activity and one of the city’s coolest venues. Its cinema boasts reclining seats and table service, and is the best place to relax in front of one of the festival’s screenings, with a drink in hand. On November 4, it plays host to the festival’s Friday Night Party, offering a friendly and relaxed environment for meeting other festival attendees.
For more information about all of the venues, at ASFF 2016, visit https://www.asff.co.uk/venues/.
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1. ASFF 2015. Courtesy and copyright of Jim Poyner.