Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free

There’s a long way to go to establish true quality. Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free is the final strand at ASFF 2021, exploring how cinema can connect us in a divided world.

Segregation, racism, marginalisation and discrimination are systemic issues deep-rooted within society, built into many individuals’ daily experiences. We’re all complicit in building a new kind of world based on fairness and justice, where any two individuals are given equal opportunities and viewed in the same way. The sixth and final strand of ASFF 2021, Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free, tackles this head on.

Drama features prominently in this strand, with four reels on offer. When Will Be Belong? explores the notion of outsiders, whether it’s in Tea, about a young Polish woman living in a British seaside town, or Lessons from Our Fathers, dealing with issues of bullying. The second reel Good for You – which includes three vibrant films from Canada – takes on shifting dynamics and the way characters reject the many ways in which society has been built to keep them down.

In Freedom, filmmakers examine what freedom feels like and what are the steps we need to take towards it. Audiences will find a variety of voices, whether its refugees fleeing from Calais to Dover in The Tunnel or the story a tragic miscarriage in To All My Darlings. The fourth drama reel, Rule Breakers, embraces the beauty in difference, as filmmakers from the UK, Norway, Germany, Israel, and Belgium transcend barriers, both physically and metaphorically.

For those seeking a window onto reality, documentary reel In the Spotlight brings together an eclectic programme of shorts that embrace comedy, animation, and drama. Under the microscope comes an array of provocative topics, from capital punishment in Last Meal to the pandemic in E14. Documentary feature Beijing Spring also plays in this strand. Directed by Andy Cohen and Gaylen Ross, the focus is a group of self-taught artists (including a young Ai Weiwei) that championed freedom of expression during the Cultural Revolution.

This theme continues in fashion reel Forms of Resistance, a series of twelve short films that span the genres of dance, documentary, narrative and fantasy, weaving together stories about gender, beauty, isolation, and the transient nature of life. Audiences will marvel as a devilish dinner party comes together in the Canadian short Chokehold and find resonance in A Circle Line Train, a story of a young woman who looks to make her way in the city of London.


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. Book your passes at here.