Discover New Cinema

This year’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival begins on 2 November, with the chance for audiences to experience screenings and events both in-person and virtually. This year’s Official Selection has been divided into six conceptual strands, organised by theme and including multiple genres, from fashion and animation to drama and comedy. Each strand addresses key issues and topics, encouraging wider conversations about the world in which we live. For those looking to curate their own festival experience, here is an introductory guide to each strand:  

How it Was, How it is, How it Will Be

There are some moments in time that define who we are and what we will do next. There are so many things that connect us as human beings, right here and now on planet Earth. Collective experiences are so precious, and they bind us together. Sometimes, it’s the small things in life that matter the most: learning to ride a bike, your first kiss, first relationship and, similarly, first heartbreak. There is so much beauty in these shared experiences.

Humanity on the Edge

To say it has been a challenging time is an understatement. There are not enough words in the English language to truly articulate everything that is happening around us. From seismic issues like the climate crisis and Covid to human rights and women’s safety. There have been a range of multi-faceted and complex crises, which will not stop of magically disappear. There is no more ‘normal’. It’s an idea that has become redundant.

When Life Gives You Lemons, Make Lemonade

Hope, life, trouble, optimism, positivity, difficulty, motivation. These words define the ups and downs of life. The glass is half full. This programme of films takes a lighter look at life and reminds us of all the joy and beauty that surround us. It reminds us to stop, slow down and look around in order to embrace the here and the now. These films inspire, unite and join as we take a moment to admire the power and resilience of the everyday person.

Pleased to Meet You

This programme explores interpersonal connections, the contexts with which they are formed and how they ultimately define us. Platonic, romantic, familial: there are numerous types of relationships that we form over a lifetime. But how do we define our associations? At what point does an acquaintance become something more? And how has the digital age altered the ways we make and cut ties, irrevocably?

Mirror, Mirror

Identity is a complex, multi-faceted and fluid concept. It makes up who we are as individuals. But how do we decide who we are, or perhaps, who we want to be? Arguably, our memories, experiences and values are more important than where we are from. However, the way we see ourselves is often very different to the way other people see us. This programme considers the intricacies of selfhood in the 21st century.

Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free

In 2021, it’s almost inconceivable that segregation, racism, marginalisation and discrimination are still rampant within society, but dangerous rhetoric is still being circulated, with insidious effects rippling outwards across the globe. Though the conversation has begun, there’s a long way to go to establish true equality. We’re all complicit in building a new kind of world based on justice, where individuals are given equal opportunities.


The 2021 Aesthetica Short Film Festival runs in-person from 2-30 November. Tickets start from £25. Discover our pass options here.