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Rising Stars Across the Years

We’re proud to share with you these incredible filmmakers who have shared powerful and poignant projects at Aesthetica, such as Rose Glass, Tal Kantor, Sean Wang and Mitch Kalisa. Some are just beginning whilst others have already gone on to tell crucial stories & forge extraordinary careers. We can’t wait to see what’s next.

Tal Kantor | Letter to a Pig

Tal Kantor is an award-winning independent animation filmmaker & visual artist. Her style blends together a range of mediums, such as: animation, drawing, photography, video and painting. Letter to a Pig won Best Animation at ASFF 2023 and was nominated for this year’s Oscar for Best Short Film (Animated).

Rose Glass | Storm House

Writer and director Rose Glass creates short films for the likes of Film4/Channel 4 and Giorgio Armani. She was part of the 2012 festival with Storm House and we are now excitedly anticipating her upcoming psychologocial thriller Love Lies Bleeding, which features Kristen Stewart, Anna Baryshnikov and Dave Franco.

Tom Berkeley & Ross White | An Irish Goodbye

Tom Berkeley and Ross White’s sophomore short film An Irish Goodbye won an Oscar in 2023, making them the youngest ever British directors to win the accolade. The duo have become multi-award winners with their production company Floodlight pictures and won the ASFF Best of Fest with The Golden West.

Sean Wang | Nai Nai and Wài Pó

Sean Wang is an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker from Fremont, CA, currently based in Los Angeles. His latest short film Nai Nai and Wài Pó, which is dedicated to his grandmothers, premiered at South by Southwest, won best Documentary at ASFF 2023 and went on to be nominated for an Oscar this year.

Chris Overton & Rachel Shenton | The Silent Child

Actress-writer Rachel Shenton and actor-director Chris Overton are the creative powerhouse behind the independent production company, Slick Films. In 2017, they released The Silent Child, which won both the People’s Choice and York Youth prizes in our festival and the Oscar for Best Live Action Short Film in 2018.

Sasha Rainbow | Kamali

Sasha Rainbow is a BAFTA-nominated director and writer whose unique sensibility and vision underpins her film and commercial work. In 2019, she won Best of Fest and the Audience Award at Aesthetica with Kofi and Lartey. Now we are anticipating her debut feature set to release in 2024, the hybrid-horror Grafted.

Mitch Kalisa | Play it Safe

Mitch Kalisa’s film Play it Safe won the grand jury prize at South by Southwest in 2021. It explores “structured racism perpetrated by those who consider themselves as being above prejudice.” Kalisa uses film as a platform to tell stories from unheard voices. The director has been a part of our esteemed jury.

Abdou Cissé | Festival of Slaps

Abdou Cissé is a two-time BIFA nominated and LFF award-winning writer-director. Off the back of the success of his BIFA nominated & LFF award winning short Festival of Slaps, which won Best Comedy with us last year, Abdou is making his TV debut with the BBC series Grime Kids, which debuts Nov 2023.

Dee Rees | Mudbound

Dee Rees is a director and screenwriter known for the multi-award winning, Oscar nominated film Mudbound (2007). Other powerful projects include Pariah (2011) and The Last Thing He Wanted (2020). Rees screened the short film Colonial Gods at Aesthetica in 2020 as part of the Iris Prize Guest programme.

Chloe Abrahams | The Taste of Mango

Chloe Abrahams is a Sri Lankan British artist and filmmaker working across documentary and fiction. Abraham’s The Taste of Mango screened at last year’s festival and went on to win the Best Documentary award at BFI London Film Festival and the Debut Director award for Feature Documtnary at BIFA 2023.

Submit Your Film by 31 May to be Part of #ASFF2024


Love Lies Bleeding (2024), dir. Rose Glass