ASFF 2020: Winners Announced

The winners of the 2020 edition of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival have been announced, from poignant documentaries that tap into the climate crisis to touching dramas about loss and forgiveness.


As the 10thAnniversary Edition of the Aesthetica Short Film Festival draws to a close, we are thrilled to announce the winners from this year. As a BAFTA recognised festival, ASFF victory can bolster the success of these standout short and feature films. Previous winners have even gone on to win Oscars, such as Chris Overton’s for his sweet-natured short The Silent Child, and Benjamin Cleary’s Stutterer. The awards this year – which were judged by leading industry experts from the likes of Film4, BFI Network, ICA London and Nowness – are as follows:

Best of Fest & Best Documentary
The Fantastic, dir. Maija Blåfield

Eight former North Koreans tell about illegal foreign movies they watched in their homeland. How did they imagine the reality based on fictional films? The Fantastic isn’t about North Korea.

The Hijack Visionary Filmmaker Award
Thinking About the Weather, dir. Gardar Thor Thorkelsson

Desperate to resolve his anxieties about the looming climate apocalypse, the filmmaker embarks on an odyssey that takes him around Britain, speaking to coastal inhabitants resting on a rising coastline as well as Extinction Rebellion protestors.

Best Advertising
Safe Water, dir. Mario Dahl

A girl walks right to the edge of the board, breathing deeply, ready to make the biggest jump of her life. But what’s waiting for her down there? Safe water is more important than ever.

Best Animation
The Passerby, dir. Pieter Coudyzer

On a summer day, the paths of two boys unexpectedly cross. The Passerbyis about what happens when two lives become intertwined, and the possibilities of a new journey together.

Best Artists’ Film
Factory Talk, dir. Lucie Rachel and Chrissie Hyde

Factory Talkis an intergenerational conversation about identity, sexuality and masculinity. Through the clanging of metal, they make small talk, but the dialogue turns away from mere nostalgia.

Best Comedy
Maradona’s Legs, dir. Firas Khoury

During the 1990 World Cup, two Palestinian boys are looking for Maradona’s Legs– the last missing sticker that they need in order to complete their world cup album and win a free Atari.

Best Dance
The Conversation, dir.Lanre Malaolu

Through a dynamic fusion of movement and dialogue, The Conversationexplores the challenges black people experience when communicating their racial experience to white partners.

Best Drama
The Present, dir. Farah Nabulsi

On his wedding anniversary, Yusef and his daughter Yasmine set out to the West Bank to buy a gift. Between the soldiers, roads and checkpoints, how easy is it really to go shopping?

Best Experimental
Softer, dirAyanna Dozier

Dozier examines the demands that black women’s bodies be made “softer” – be that in their voice, manners, or, critically, their hair. This experimental short plays upon grooming rituals.

Best Fashion
Baba, dir. Sarah Blok and LIsa Konno

A combination of design and documentary, blending elements of truth, fiction and constructed narrative. Baba provides a surreal but nonetheless light-hearted portrait of a Turkish immigrant.

Best Music Video
Adventure, dir. Monster Rally, Zak Marx

Adventure explores the world of competitive moto-racing in finely textured, surreal miniature. It follows the #2 rider as he ruminates in the shadows of world champion, Jammin’ Jackie Hudson.

Best Thriller
Night Bus, dir. Jessica Ashworth and Henrietta Ashworth

Driving through the nocturnal streets of London on the eve of her 30th birthday, a night bus driver discovers a supernatural entity who has boarded her vehicle and threatens to stay.

Best 360 Film
VR Free, dir. Milad Tangshir

VR Free explores the nature of incarceration whilst capturing the intimate reactions of inmates as they encounter virtual reality and immersive videos of life outside of prison.

Best Documentary Feature
Neighbors, dir. Tomislav Zaja

An observational documentary about people who experience mental illness but are leaving their institution after decades spent in isolation. The film follows the individuals as they venture out into the big unknown. 

Best Narrative Feature
How to Stop A Recurring Dream, dir. Edward Morris

Faced with a split custody break up, a family’s older daughter kidnaps her hostile sister in order to embark on a journey and reconnect before they are forced to part. Shot in and around locations pertinent to the director’s childhood.


All the winning films are available to watch on the ASFF platform until 30 November. Tickets still available; www.asff.co.uk/tickets.