How it Was, How it Is, How it Will Be

This year’s Official Selection Film Programme is organised into six strands, curated by theme. We preview Strand 1: 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. How it Was, How it Is, How it Will Be encompasses 11 film programmes that examine the beauty in these shared experiences.

Those with a taste for comedy will be well served with Own Worst Enemy, a collection of films featuring people who are exactly that, ranging from the pompous to the impatient. Arriving from the UK, Ireland, USA and Spain, these six shorts include A Few Miles South, directed by Ben Pearce and starring acclaimed actor Toby Jones in a story of two travellers on a wintry expedition.

The documentary reel Roadblocks is a highly affecting series of six films that look at such themes as hopes, dreams, uncertainty, memories, and mental health. Also in this strand are two feature-length documentaries. Queen Li’s Bipolar (2021) looks at a young lady journeying across China, while Charles Todd and Devin Amar’s Buddy Guy (2021) focuses on the titular musician, who went from sharecropper to one of the most influential blues guitarists of all time.

Drama can be found in Truth Is All We Got, comprising of six films that explore subtle and not so subtle break downs in trust. New Realities, meanwhile, looks at change and people fighting to create it, from communities standing up for what’s right to generations paving the way for those to come. Among the films is Aniel Karia’s award-winning The Long Goodbye, starring Riz Ahmed.


Thrill-seekers can also find their kicks in Monsters Within, a selection of films to suit true horror aficionados and those looking for something truly unique. Dance reel Where Am I Going? drops audiences in new environments, asking ‘Do we want to inhabit change or escape them?’

The medium of animation will also prove the perfect place for The Mind Is A Complex Place. The programme will take audiences on an emotional rollercoaster, from Heart of Gold, where a mother spies an opportunity to escape her poverty-stricken life by selling her organs to a wealthy neighbour, to Her Song which sees a young girl learn the history of her grandmother.


In venue, strands will be screened across a variety of days, whilst, virtually, strands will be released daily and accrue throughout the course of the live festival week.

The 2021 Aesthetica Short Film Festival runs in-person from 2-7 November and online from 2-30 November. Tickets start from £25. Learn more here.