Humanity on the Edge

This year’s Official Selection film programme is organised into six strands, curated by theme and including multiple genres. We preview Strand 2: Humanity on the Edge.

To say it has been a challenging time is an understatement. There are not enough words in the English language to truly articulate everything that is happening around us. From seismic issues like the climate crisis and Covid-19 to human rights and women’s safety. There have been a range of multi-faceted and complex crises, which will not stop or magically disappear. It’s an idea that has become redundant. Humanity On The Edge encompasses nine film programmes in a variety of genres, each exploring the idea that there is no more ‘normal’.

Moments of Loss uses the medium of animation to look at the personal relationships that we all have and inevitably lose, as these thought-provoking shorts consider what loss truly means. Past trauma, nostalgia and amnesia also form the backbone for Reflections, a collection of documentary shorts facing such modern issues as displacement, terrorism and the COVID-19 pandemic.

Comedy comes to the fore in A Surreal Trip, which invites audiences to explore the uncanny, strange and downright odd, using laughter to find comic relief in off-kilter worlds and situations. Laughs will also be found in We Determine, which takes viewers on a multitude of journeys, from awkward strangers meeting in the park to women taking control of their lives. Even a man who enjoys eating bird food.

Other highlights include Losing Me Losing You and Real Eyes in the drama programme, with films that force us to let go of our biases and prejudices, featuring characters that stand up to systemic racism and uncomfortable environments. From films like Triangle to The Journey, these narratives are deeply affecting and consider what it means to belong.

Meanwhile, youngsters in peril becomes the focus of The Kids Are Alright?, a series of shorts set in the thriller genre. Hailing from France, Canada and the UK, these innovative films include TNT, set during the Paris riots of 2005, and the eerie Once Familiar, which sees a young girl confronted with her mirror image.

Also presented in Humanity On The Edge is Martin Garde Abildgaard’s feature-length film A Beautiful Curse, which explores getting to know someone from the inside out. The film stars Mark Strepan as Samuel, a photographer who sneaks his way onto a mysterious island to find everyone in a deep slumber.


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.