Highlights and Overview of the ASFF Masterclasses Programme 2014

The 7 November saw the Aesthetica Short Film Festival masterclass programme at York St John University, Reel Cinema and 1331 Brandy Brown Cinema. Over 2600 tickets were sold for 15 talks, sessions and Q&As that make up the extensive industry masterclass programme. Representatives from across film, television and gaming industries took to the stage to give unprecedented access and information from genres including documentary, camera operation and technology, film criticism, advertising, animation, screen writing and direction.

York St John played host to the majority of the masterclasses with over 200 people listening to Barney Cokeliss of Ridley Scott Associates discussing the art of advertising and a full house of 250 for a Q&A with BAFTA nominated screenwriter and director Mark Herman. With over 20 years in the industry, Mark Herman talked about The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas, Little Voice, Brassed Off and where his next projects are leading him. Returning to ASFF for the second time, Channel 4’s Creative Diversity Team represented by Ian Mackenzie gave invaluable insight into the first look at emerging creative’s work and Channel 4’s reputation for innovation and diverse programming.

Blinkink’s James Stevenson Bretton captivated the audience with an insider look at the world of animation production bringing with him the bear from the John Lewis 2013 Christmas Campaign The Bear and the Hare. Over 100 people came to hear from Anna Smith, film critic and journalist from the BBC. Sight&Sound and Elle addressing the importance of Film Criticism and the practicalities of the industry as a whole. Miranda Fleming, who had her film Cold Warrior screened at ASFF 2013, spoke on the subject of crowd funding in her new capacity as head of film and creative at Indiegogo.

Charles Cecil from Revolution Software addressed the cross over between film and gaming and in a packed schedule, Victoria Long from visual effects giant Double Negative gave a detailed look into the work of creating the digital world with insight into some of the recent projects including the Hunger Games: Catching Fire. Anna Parker brought the topic of documentary film making to the fore representing Sheffield Doc/Fest. With the festival in it’s 21st year, it was a chance to hear from the UK’s leading documentary festival on how to get your work noticed.

Craig McNeil, Head of Creative at record label giant Beggars Group and James Harman from TC Soho returned to ASFF for a second year and took a trip through the A-Z of Music Video using examples from across the genres including some of the work on display at the festival itself. Talking as part of the panel on the changing face of short film, Maggie Ellis from Film London, Alex Heathcote, producer at Ridley Scott Associates, David Smith from Northern Film School, Iain Gardner, BAFTA nominated animator and Short Form Animation Programmer at Edinburgh International Film Festival joined Philip Ilson from London Short Film Festival and spoke to address the problem that short film is a big part of the film industry in the UK but marginalised in distribution.

York Theatre Royal played host to the Association of Camera Operators who spoke about creating the visual narrative. Fresh from filming Star Wars at Pinewood, Tony Jackson joined the Camera Operator of the Year from Gravity, Peter Taylor, and Steady Camera operator from Atonement. Peter Robertson. Between the three of them they they have worked on over 50 of the UK and worlds largest productions including Gladiator, Harry Potter, Maleficent, In Bruge, The Edge of Tomorrow and Skyfall.

New for ASFF 2014, Reel Cinema hosted Katheryn Ferguson speaking on the subject of fashion film. With the topic firmly on the rise and minds of the film making community, this was a chance to hear first hand from an experienced filmmaker who has worked with the likes of Selfridges and Chloe. Reel also played host to the BAFTA masterclass with BAFTA nominated editor Lisa Gunning. Over 500 people filled the 1930s Odeon main screen to hear about her work on films including Seven Psychopaths and a background into editor’s trade secrets.

ASFF would like to extend a heartfelt thank you to all the speakers in this years masterclass programme and to all the people that came to attend the sessions. With an outstanding line up of presenters and enthusiastic industry and aspiring filmmaker audience this year was the largest attended series of sessions in the festival history.

1. Association of Camera Operators masterclass at York Theatre Royal. Photography by Jim Poyner.