The Arab World is one of the most diverse regions on earth. It comprises a cultural melting pot of 22 nations and 450 million people, shaped by dramatic and unique natural landscapes. Yet it is scarred by a history of conflict, social unrest and political struggle. Presented by the BBC Arabic Festival, this collection of short films, made by female Arab filmmakers, comprises bold and relevant stories. It is a showcase of outstanding cinematic talent that is rapidly emerging from rich, emotive and turbulent histories.
Guest Programmes 2019
Experience the breadth of cinema through our curated programmes.
Spanning Alternative Perspectives, Family Friendly Screenings and 20th Century Film, these strands span a wide-range of topics and styles, from archive footage of Apollo 11 to emerging female filmmakers from the Arab world. These programmes broaden the mind and introduce unexpected viewpoints from our changing world.
These Special Screenings are free with a festival pass.
Celebrating diversity and individual perspectives, this strand covers a broad range of ideas and voices. From LGBTQ+ communities to female filmmakers coming from war-torn countries, these works are emotive, unique and necessary – reflecting underrepresented visions.
Iris Prize’s shorts look at the relationships between siblings who identify as LGBT+. With an introduction from Festival Director Berwyn Rowlands, these works offer a variety of stories featuring brothers and sisters, looking at complex narratives based around identity and sexuality. The films are bold and unprecedented in their storylines, including siblings who find they are attracted to the same person, or rising familial tensions around a wedding day. These imaginative projects turn the ordinary, extraordinary.
Mathieu Ajan, Founder of Bounce, joins us for a special showcase of black filmmaking. Throughout these eye-opening screenings, audiences will be made aware of the importance for more culturally diverse cinema and the steps we can all take to achieve this across the globe. Black filmmakers, directors and producers are currently underrepresented within the industry and make up just a small percent of the workforce. This programme spotlights those that are creating bold new narratives, reinforcing the need for change.
21st century Britain is continuing to define itself. It’s an uncertain time. The political and social climate continues to shift in unpredictable ways. Brexit is dividing the country and the environment is at a tipping point, having stepped into crisis. Short of the Week invites audiences to view the world through those that are defining their own ideas of Britain on screen. These works uncover themes of identity, diversity and individuality, painting a multifaceted, multicultural and multidisciplinary portrait of a nation in flux.
Guardian Documentaries are home to the most exciting stories of our time, including Black Sheep, winner of ASFF 2018’s prestigious Best of Fest Award. Offering true-life stories from across the world – told through the voices of the participants – The Guardian takes us on a journey to discovering the everyday in juxtaposition with the spectacular. These inspiring shorts provide individual stories shaped by changing cultures, politics and events. Intersecting creative documentary and journalistic storytelling, these screenings are a must-see.
We look back at ten years of Underwire Festival with a selection of short films from its past editions. Over the past decade, it has screened exceptional female talent that has gone on to make award-winning films. The festival is a hub of talent and a community of filmmaking talent that continues to be as inspiring as it is humbling. With this selection of short films, we look back at some of the exceptional talent that’s come through Underwire.
Defining an Era: The 20th Century on Screen
In 2019, ASFF invites audiences to bear witness to some of the 20th century's most defining and critical moments. This series of screenings examines a century of filmmaking in a brave new world that was transformed by motion pictures.
Marking 75 years since the most decisive campaign of WWII, Imperial War Museum presents a programme of archival footage examining the D-Day invasion and the most crucial months of 1944, covering preparations in England, the iconic sea and airborne landings, the Normandy Breakout and the Liberation of Paris, signalling the beginning of the end of one of the 20th century’s most tyrannical regimes. Join one of the UK’s leading institutions as they present footage that changed the course of British history.
In 1969, Neil Armstrong made history as the first man on the moon. 50 years on, we celebrate one of humanity’s greatest, most daring and audacious achievements with a special screening of Sundance favourite Apollo 11– a feature length chronicle of the mission. The film is composed entirely from archival footage, restored reels and never before seen 70mm film, offering a perception-altering representation of man’s greatest endeavour. The screening is presented by Archive Producer Stephen Slater.
The UK miners’ strike (1984-1985) was a major socio-political movement in British industry. In the wake of the closures, conflicts and social upheaval, black miners from Yorkshire and Nottingham reflect on their past, present and future prospects as individuals and as a group. Presented by researcher and playwright Garry Morris, Skin and Coal is a sensitive exploration of human labour, camaraderie and resilience, focusing on the unity that miners found below ground, whilst racist attitudes still permeate the land above.
Family Friendly Screenings
Introduce your young ones to today's leading animators on the big screen. This year ASFF welcomes Hey Duggee, presented by Studio AKA and BBC Studios.
Hey Duggee, created by Grant Orchard, Senior Director at Studio AKA, is full of fun and one of the happiest places on kids TV! Loved by both children and parents around the world, Hey Duggee inspires children to be energetic, explore and problem solve to earn the much-desired badges.The series is a break-out hit on CBeebies in the UK and has an impressive global footprint in over 150 territories. Bring your little ones to this bold, colourful screening and embark on an adventure.