The Listening Pitch 2021


Audible x Aesthetica Film Festival

The Winners


Blind as a Beat: Premiere
Friday 5 November, 17:00-18:30
York Theatre Royal Studio  

This year Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Audible teamed up to run The Listening Pitch. It was an open brief, and we were looking for original stories that demonstrate how listening lets us understand different points of view and discover new ideas. Audio had to be central to the narrative.

The 2021 recipients are Jessi Gutch and Liz Jackson, with Blind as a Beat. The film is an artistic celebration of the power of listening as a way of interpreting the world, set against the backdrop of a film director’s failing eyesight. Jackson was an in-house documentary director at the BBC for 10 years, making a range of films for the broadcaster. Told through four phases of loss, the film portrays her journey: from ex-documentary filmmaker who used sight as a primary sense, to someone who is visually impaired and using hearing predominately. 

“There is a growing movement for film to become more accessible. People are starting to see that the disabled audience is a big one – they should be thought of in the production process. In this script, we’ve tried to take the idea of audio description but elevate it to something very visually evocative. We like the idea of giving people pictures in their head just from the words.”

Gutch is a BIFA nominated writer, director, producer whose credits include The Forgotten CUntil The Tide Creeps In and Octopus. Living with ovarian cancer, she is committed to authentic storytelling about the disease. She also specialises in creative documentary and working with NGOs. Whilst working for the BBC for a decade, Jackson collaborated with misrepresented communities to tell their stories.

Join us at Aesthetica Film Festival 2021 for the premiere of Blind as a Beat and a Q&A with the filmmakers. Click here for more details.


Follow the winning filmmaker: @Jessi_Gutch



Entries for The Listening Pitch are now closed.


The Brief

Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Audible have teamed up to launch The Listening Pitch 2021. We’re inviting filmmakers to submit proposals for a short documentary on the subject of Listening. We’re looking for original stories that show how listening lets us understand different points of view and discover new ideas. Audio should be central to the storytelling and details of how sound and image will interact should be included in all proposals.

Entries are now closed. The winner’s announcement will take place in late summer 2021. The winning film will premiere at Aesthetica Film Festival, alongside a Live Q&A with the filmmaker. This will take place during the festival, which runs 2-7 November.



The Grant
  • Five filmmakers will be selected to present their idea at a live virtual pitch in April 2021.
  • A panel will review the pitches and a grant of £10k will be awarded to the filmmaker with the strongest idea.
  • The final film will be original and offer a new perspective on the theme.
  • It will premiere at the ASFF in November 2021 and also be shared on Audible and Aesthetica social channels.
  • Filmmakers from across the world are invited to apply for this grant.
  • We will also require the film to have subtitles available to meet accessibility requirements. Please supply two versions: one burnt on and one without.
  • We welcome submissions from first-time filmmakers and those underrepresented in the industry.


Key Dates

Key Dates

  • 15 February – 9 April: Call for Entries
  • 9 April: Deadline
  • 12-20 April: Judging
  • Late Summer 2021: Winner Announced
  • ASFF Premiere and Live Q&A: Between 2-7 November

Image Credits
1. Elsewhere, Dir. Mathy and Fran
2. Boomerang, Dir. Romain Laurent
3. Somalinimo, Dir. Alice Aedy