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BAFTA Win for Aesthetica Film:
Jellyfish & Lobster

BAFTA is one of the world’s largest celebrations of global excellence in film. Since 2020, Aesthetica has had 16 films that have been either nominated or won a BAFTA, with many of these rising stars going on to become household names. We’ve had a number of BIFA, and Oscar wins and nominations along the way too. Curating a festival like Aesthetica gives us an inherent vantage point into new talent, filmic styles and storytelling. The festival is an important outlet for moving image and digital culture, with our recent foray into Games and continued programmes around XR. 

Film is transformative. It can connect with individuals on a personal or universal level. It introduces us to new ideas, places, people, cultures and customs. Film is active, not passive and its immediacy is responsible for often inciting change on a larger scale. There is no other art form that can bring you on a vast and boundless emotional journey. Aesthetica Film Festival is our love letter to cinema, and we are proud to work with such an amazing group of filmmakers year on year who are disrupting the status quo, posing important questions and telling incredible stories.

This year’s winner for Best British Short Film is Jellyfish and Lobster, directed by Yasmin Afifi. It screened with us in November 2023, and it’s a magical realist, dark comedy drama set in a gritty British care home. Two terminally ill elderly patients discover a magical blue pool that restores them back to their younger selves beneath the water. Whilst Festival of Slaps, nominated for BAFTA 2024, directed by Abdou Cissé, won the Best Comedy at Aesthetica in 2023. It is an action packed tale from the palms of one Nigerian mother. At a dinner celebration, a woman serves her son a set of slaps so powerful that it changes his life forever. It was also great to see Gorka by Joe Weiland on the list of nominees. The short demonstrates the power of personal connection when a French exchange student visits England for the first time and finds himself at the centre of a very particular British family dynamic. Yellow by Elham Ehsas was also nominated this year. The drama screened at Aesthetica 2023 and is set in Taliban controlled Afghanistan. Laili walks into a store in Kabul, to buy her first burqa. Yellow is the story of navigating a future governed by oppression. 

Looking back to 2023’s BAFTA’s we had another Aesthetica win, which was An Irish Goodbye, directed by Tom Berkeley & Ross J. White. It centres on brothers Turlough and Lorcan, brought together by their mother’s untimely death. What will they do with her unfulfilled bucket list? The film is now available on BBC iPlayer. As for the nominees in 2023 – Bus Girl, directed by Jessica Henwick also made the list. It tells the story of an aspiring young female chef who navigates the world of high-end cooking. We see the stress behind closed doors and what she must endure to succeed. Alongside this A Drifting Up by Jacob Lee tells a personal story of coming off anti-depressants. The film is a journey from isolation to connection and an artistic montage of city life. We also screened The Ballad of Olive Morris by Alex Kayode-Kay, which is based on a true life incident that happened in 1969, where 17-year-old Olive Morris tried to prevent a Nigerian diplomat from being arrested and assaulted. Your Mountain is Waiting was nominated for Best Short Animation. It’s by Hannah Jacobs and it tells the story of Martha, a young woman confined by her surroundings, who has stopped listening to her intuition and is suffering. A strange encounter forces Martha to see her surroundings differently. 

In 2022 the BAFTA went to Cherish Oteka’s The Black Cop, which is about a former Metropolitan police officer: Gamal “G” Turawa. We meet him as he shares his personal experience of being both a victim and perpetrator of racism. We also screened  Joanna Quinn’s Affairs of the Art, which showcases one family’s eccentric yet endearing obsessions, with everything from drawing and illustration to the curious of pet taxidermy. Back in 2021, Farah Nabulsi’s The Present won the Best British Short. It tells the story of Yusef and his daughter Yasmine set out to the West Bank to buy a gift. Between the soldiers, roads, checkpoints and other obstacles, how easy is it really to go shopping? This film resonates more today than ever. The same year saw Jesse Lewis-Reece’s Eyelash, on the list of nominees. The short is an adaptation of poet Neil Hilborn’s poem OCD, and it considers the nuances of mental health. A few more winners include Best British Short Animation, The Owl and the Pussycat by Mole Hill from 2021, alongside Naaman Azhari’s nominated The Magic Boat and Maryam Mohajer’s Grandad was a Romantic British Short Animation – Winner in 2020.

This is the place. Aesthetica is one of the leading European film festivals for new talent and each year we screen over 300 shorts across 12 genres to thousands in 15 venues in York, UK, which is a UNESCO City of Media Arts. The festival is a hotbed for ideas and inspiration. We believe in the power of cinema and throughout the public programme, Creative Lab spaces and extensive masterclass and workshop programme, we are playing a major role in bringing new cinema to the forefront. We understand what it takes to make something happen and see the relationship between festival, filmmaker and audience as intrinsic. Submit your film to screen at Aesthetica between 6-10 November or join the thousands who are experiencing the joy and power of independent film with us in venues across York city centre. 

Submit Your Film To Screen at Aesthetica 2024


1. & 2. Jellyfish and Lobster, dir. Yasmin Afifi (2023)

3. An Irish Goodbye, dir. Tom Berkeley & Ross J. (2022)

4. The Present, dir. Farah Nabulsi (2021)

5. The Ballad of Olive Morris, dir. Alex Kayode-Kay (2022)