Guest Programmes

New Perspectives. Authentic Stories.

These unique programmes are separated into two curated strands – Diverse Perspectives and ASFF’s 10th Anniversary. These screenings cover a diverse range of topics and styles to broaden the mind and explore different points of view.

Alternative Perspectives

Experience a breadth of identities, cultures and outlooks.

Brazil in the Spotlight:
Vibrancy and Creativity

Presented by
São Paulo International Short Film Festival

Addressing the intricacies of memory, tradition and trauma, the projects featured in this programme tackle the complexities of Brazil from multiple perspectives and timelines. Handling personal archives, documentary discourse and fictional tales, these films explore a range of emotions during times of crisis. With a diversity of voices and styles, this programme – presented by Curta Kinoforum – encourages viewers to discover more of contemporary Brazilian cinema. These are vibrant, creative, imaginative and unexpected.

Voices from The Arctic:
Norway on Screen

Presented by
The Norwegian Short Film Festival, Grimstad

Norway boasts a rugged landscape, shaped by dramatic events and a rich history. Its culture is diverse – with a melting pot of indigenous traditions and crafts coming together with contemporary society. Today, storytelling is an integral part of Norwegian culture. Presented by the Norwegian Short Film Festival – a key platform for Norwegian talent – these short films share just some of the diverse voices of the country, from life in a Sápmi village to a bustling capital in lockdown. These are stories from the North.

Tales From Isolation

Presented by
Short of the Week

2020 has forced many of us outside our comfort zone. Months of separation from family and friends has put a strain on our physical and mental well-being, so we’ve all had to adjust and reconsider our priorities. From a lonely gannet to a being born alone in a void, Short of the Week – a key online destination for innovative short film and emerging talent – presents a diverse selection of stories examining how individuals cope in isolated situations, which will make you reflect on what it truly means to feel alone.

TransFormation, TransAction

Presented by
Transgender Media Portal

Discussions of transgender film are usually dominated by representations of trans people, not those made by trans people. The Transgender Media Portal makes audiovisual work by trans people more available for creators, activists and audiences. This features an exciting and eclectic mix of films made by trans, Two-Spirit, nonbinary, intersex and gender- nonconforming artists, with an emphasis on Black and Indigenous individuals, as well as creators-of-colour, offering meditations on oppression, resistance and imagination.

Challenging Perspectives:
Documenting Modern Britain

Presented by
BFI Doc Society

Tackling disability, identity, mental health, class and culture, this collection of short documentaries offers a snapshot of modern-day Britain. Told by exciting emerging talent from across the UK, these stories have been funded and curated by the BFI Doc Society Fund. The fund helps to develop storytellers from all parts of the UK, backing feature and short creative documentaries with bold cultural and social ambitions. This programme holds up a mirror to life in Britain today, with compelling stories from a variety of perspectives.

Hanoi Stories

Presented by
Scottish Documentary Institute

Vietnam’s independent film industry is in its infancy. After 50 years of socialism kept tight control of cinema through the state, independent documentaries only started to develop once technology became more affordable. Hanoi Stories – produced by the Scottish Documentary Institute, TDP (Centre for the Development of Movie Talents) and the British Council – celebrates marginalised female voices in traditional Vietnamese music. In doing so, these stories engender new, but barely detectable, acts of “civil resistance.”

Indigenous Cinema:
Celebrating Sovereignty

Presented by
Native Spirit Film Festival

After decades of on-screen misrepresentation, artists are reclaiming their stories, expanding traditional definitions and interpretations of the moving image. Indigenous storytellers and content creators follow cultural protocols, translating oral traditions and protecting languages for their peoples, whilst connecting perspectives and showcasing indigenous truths and values. Native Spirit Film Festival presents a selection of shorts by First Nations and indigenous filmmakers from Canada, USA, Norway and Aotearoa.

Fresh Perspectives:
Making Space for Disability

Presented by
Oska Bright Film Festival

Learning disability film culture is rich with ideas, stories and imagination. However, with less than 5% disabled people working in the UK film industry, getting the work made and seen is a challenge. Oska Bright Film Festival, the world’s leading platform for learning disability films, is dedicated to celebrating this vibrant artform. This programme, curated by lead programmer Matthew Hellett, gives a flavour of the festival and its unique storytellers, showing bold, exciting and different work from voices you might not have heard before.

Remembering WWII

Presented by
The Imperial War Museum

75 years ago, one of the biggest conflict in human history came to an end in Europe. WWII cost millions of lives – sweeping across borders and continents, dealing global devastation relentlessly and lasting for six years. Marking the anniversary of this momentous and generation-altering part of history, Imperial War Museum presents the Oscar-winning documentary The True Glory which chronicles the events of 1944-1945, from the Allied invasion of Normandy all the way through to the the fall of the Third Reich on 8 May 1945.

A Platform Female Voices

Presented by

Even in 2020, the film industry is missing the mark on gender representation behind the camera. Cinesisters is a collective of over 150 female directors making award-winning films and TV, sharing experiences and resources in order to create more films by and about women. Cinesisters presents a programme of short films that have transformed the careers of just a handful of exceptional female filmmakers. These career-defining projects led to agent representation, feature funding and exciting new opportunities.

I Still Can’t Breathe
Directors Notes and Can We Talk DXB

Presented by
Directors Notes & Can We Talk

The public murder of George Floyd devastated millions worldwide. It revealed the injustices that black communities have known all their lives, prompting crucial conversations and fuelling global outrage. Society’s systems function to oppress and disadvantage those who are not white. From horrific violence to racial bias to everyday micro-aggressions, this programme of shorts, curated by Directors Notes and Can We Talk DXB, portrays the reality of life as a member of marginalised populations. We still can’t breathe.

The Future of AI:
People and Data

Presented by
Digital Creativity Labs

Who owns data about you? What is the future of AI? What do we want from it? AI algorithms use data to choose what you see online, whether you like it or not. The effects on society, politics, education and commerce run deep. These intriguing shorts investigate possible futures for AI, whilst avoiding the “killer robot” cliché. Digilabs, based at the University of York, showcases a selection of films that make us consider to future of artificial intelligence. A panel considers future applications of algorithm and intelligent code.

LGBT+ Shorts:
Defining Gay Cinema

Presented by
Iris Prize Festival

Watch rarely seen short films from the Iris Prize Archive. The four films are easy to label as “brutal.” They are, at times, difficult, but stick with them as they unfold into a truly rewarding cinematic experience. The stories deal with the broader themes of mental health and the search for love. Specifically, these projects ask questions about how love can sometimes be found in the most unexpected places. These are not your typical LGBT+ short films. Now in its 14th year, Iris Prize holds a film festival and year-round events.

ASFF 10 Year Anniversary

Reflect on a decade of outstanding cinema.

ASFF welcomed back alumni from the past 10 editions of the festival, screening films about turbulent times – considering the climate crisis, technology and politics.

Seeing the World Differently

A Programme of Outstanding Alumni Works
Curated by ASFF

We all have a unique view of the world around us. Our experiences differ vastly from one to the other, dependant on a multitude of factors, from social contexts and upbringing to our sexuality, identity and core values. Our differences make us human, as does our thirst for knowledge and understanding. This programme of short films invites viewers to see the world differently. Consider life through the eyes of others and gain a new, refreshed perspective.

Our Fragile Existence:
Witness to the Climate Crisis

A Programme of Outstanding Alumni Works
Curated by ASFF

We are on the edge of an environmental disaster. The impact of population growth, globalisation, urbanisation, industrialisation and the exhaustion of natural resources has finally taken its toll. In order to save the world that we love, we must act now and prevent future generations from living with the consequences. Filmmakers are key witnesses – documenting and exploring these narratives. This programme examines the damage caused to the planet and where we go now.

Global Migrations:
Populations in Transit

A Programme of Outstanding Alumni Works
Curated by ASFF

The world is defined by conflict, civil unrest, unjust political policies and natural disasters. These are factors which often dictate the movement of people – whether through choice, displacement or exile. In recent years, we have seen mass migration for many reasons. Attitudes towards immigrants can be either welcoming or hostile – and sometimes, both. These films explore migration, motivation and reception in foreign lands, exploring the challenges of setting up a new life.

A Troubled World in Strange Times

A Programme of Outstanding Alumni Works
Curated by ASFF

These are troubling times. We live amidst a pandemic, a global disaster that only serves to further expose global inequalities and injustices. Recent years have seen a rise in right-wing political movements and nationalist agendas that seek to undermine basic human rights. Racism and scapegoating continue to spread fear and anger. Storytellers and documentarians frame the political shifts, social tensions, attitudes and events that have shaped our turbulent world.

The Future is Now:
Humans & Technology

A Programme of Outstanding Alumni Works
Curated by ASFF

Our relationship with and dependency on technology grows every day. We are constantly looking to the future – for the next big thing. Technology connects us, teaches us and assists with our day-to-day lives. We have immense power at our finger tips. In the age of the selfie, immersive technologies and Artificial Intelligence, this programme of films from visionary ASFF alumni considers humanity’s reliance on, and desire for, innovation. What will the future look like?

A Decade of Cinema:
Outstanding Shorts from ASFF

A Programme of Outstanding Alumni Works
Curated by ASFF

Over the past 10 years, the Aesthetica Short Film Festival has had the privilege of exhibiting the work of talented filmmakers and storytellers from across the world. We look back over a decade of cinema. In this retrospective programme, we showcase a small selection of outstanding works that exemplify the meaning of innovative, bold and unique voices. Join us in celebrating a decade of award-winning shorts across drama, experimental, music video and comedy.