Special Events

Make the most of your ticket.

Alongside an extensive film programme, we offer a range of daily events – for both virtual and in-person audiences – designed for those looking to further engage in the landscape of film. Our special events provide a lively mix of industry-led masterclasses, networking and social opportunities, as well as focused mentoring and the chance to view the next generation of filmmakers. Whether you’re interested in expanding your contact list and meeting potential collaborators, or learning something new, look no further.

Highlights for 2021 include Guest Programmes from the Transgender Film Centre, Africa in Motion and the Scottish Documentary Institute, and unique 1-1 advice sessions with our esteemed delegates, as well as the renowned Industry Marketplace, which brings together some of the UK’s largest film exhibitors. All in-person events must have been pre-booked. Virtual events can be streamed online.

Some events are available to live stream on our Virtual Platform until 30 November.

To find out more about passes, visit: asff.co.uk/tickets

Opening Night Ceremony

Tuesday 2 November, 18.00-21.00
City Screen

ASFF launches its 11th edition with a special screening of outstanding, inspiring and thought-provoking works from the 2021 Official Selection. Curated by Festival Director Cherie Federico, our Opening Night Ceremony introduces audiences to the breadth and diversity of the festival programme with a special screening of films that capture just a small taste of our most expansive and imaginative programme to date.

Fully Booked

Awards Ceremony

Sunday 7 November, 16.00-19.00
Yorkshire Museum

To bring ASFF’s 11th edition to a close, we welcomed filmmakers and audiences to tune in to our live prize giving ceremony. Prizes were awarded for the best film in each of our 14 genres, as well as our Audience Choice, Best of Fest, Youth Awards and Special Guest Awards. Join in a celebration of outstanding achievements in filmmaking. The closing ceremony was followed by a drinks reception.

Streaming On Demand

Mentoring: 1-1 Opportunities

2-7 November

These 20-minute sessions are for practitioners working across all genres, and at varying stages in their careers. Our industry experts provide guidance on how to develop ideas, break into the industry and further your careers. This is truly a unique opportunity to find an expert in your chosen field and gain first-hand advice from those shaping the industry, from cinematography to scriptwriting. Pre-booking essential.

Fully Booked

Pitching Sessions

2-7 November
Submit your project online

Developing a feature project? Pitching Sessions are your chance to get your ideas in front of key decision-makers from the UK’s leading production companies. Meet one-to-one with the Development Executives for the likes of Studiocanal, Goldfinch, BBC Films and Guardian Documentaries. This is a key opportunity to receive invaluable feedback on your work and learn how to develop your voice. Application required for these sessions.

Fully Booked


Tuesday 2 – Sunday 7 November
Various Venues and Online

Every year, ASFF welcomes industry leaders from a range of disciplines to speak about their craft. 2021 speakers include Sally Potter and Jeanie Finlay, as well as representatives from BBC, Film 4, Channel 4, MUBI and Industrial Light and Magic. A selection of masterclasses will be live streamed from Yorkshire Museum, with some running purely on our virtual channels. Pre-booking essential.
Click here for more information.

Streaming On Demand

Guest Programmes

2-30 November
In Venue and Online

Celebrating alternative viewpoints, diverse representation and authenticity both on- and off-screen, enjoy these lovingly curated guest programmes from leading organisations. In 2021, we consider the themes of Queer Joy, 9/11: The Fall Out and South African Female Directors. Key organisations include Iris Prize, Africa in Motion, Transgender Film Centre and IWM. Click here for more information.

Streaming On Demand

New Wave

2-30 November
In Venue and Online

Looking to find the UK’s best new director? To see something new? These illuminating film programmes, and complementary panel discussions, spotlight the work of the UK’s newest cinematic talent, from leading institutions such as London College of Communication, Regent’s University London, London College of Fashion and University of York. Come and be inspired by future greats.
Click here for more information.

Streaming On Demand

Youth Engagement Programme

Local Schools

ASFF’s Youth Engagement screenings feature a series of specially curated Official Selection film screenings for school pupils aged 11-14. The students critically engage and vote for their favourite to decide the winner. This year’s screenings will take place in York’s local schools, sparking a love of cinema from a young age. We’re excited to share our Official Selection films with the next generation, encouraging them to get involved.

Family Friendly Screenings

2-30 November
In Venue and Online

As part of our commitment to engage with younger audiences, ASFF presents a selection of Family Friendly screenings, showcasing exciting adventures that the whole family can enjoy in the cinema, or from the comfort of home. This year’s screenings feature international and award-winning works, covering animation and live action narratives that capture the imagination and invite everyone to laugh and learn.

Streaming On Demand

Subtitled Screenings

2-30 November
In Venue and Online

At Aesthetica, we wholeheartedly believe that everyone should have the opportunity to experience and enjoy cinema. As part of our wider efforts to make film as accessible and enjoyable as possible, we are committed to offering subtitled screenings of as many films in our programme as possible. In addition, all live events will feature closed captions to ensure that all audiences have the opportunity to access them.

Streaming On Demand

LCF Interactive Media Lab

Tuesday 2 – Sunday 7 November
Spark York | 11.00-19.30

This interactive exhibition explores how digital platforms are changing the way we produce and experience film-based media. The displays are structured around three conceptual categories: Augmented Worlds, exploring the application of VR, AR and MR in fashion and performance; Embodied Interactions, where physical gestures control on-screen narratives; and Critical Explorations, considering the influence of social media.

Screen School VR Lab

Tuesday 2 – Sunday 7 November
City Screen Basement

ASFF and London College of Communication’s Screen School invite audiences to explore the future. Immerse yourself in the story, discover new worlds and experience 360 cinema. The 360 Cinema is complemented by live daily panel discussions. Joining the festival virtually? Purchase an ASFF cardboard headset along with your festival pass to experience at home.
Click here for more information.

Virtual Reality Panels

2-5 & 7 November | York Explore
6 November | York Theatre Royal

Running alongside the Screen School VR lab, we invite pioneers, industry professionals and filmmakers to share their experiences of working with new technologies. In these dynamic and informative discussions, our guests explore everything from data ethics and writing in 360, to spatial sound and immersive curatorship. What is the potential of social VR? What does the future of data security look like?

Streaming On Demand

Filmmaker Insights Panels

2-5 & 7 November | York Explore
6 November | York Theatre Royal

Hear from a selection of the filmmakers that make up 2021’s Official Selection. These daily panel discussions are the perfect place to learn more about inspirations, motivations and creative processes, covering topics such as documentary filmmaking, animation, producing on a budget and establishing your own unique style in a competitive industry. Hear from the stars of tomorrow.

Streaming On Demand

Daily Networking Events

1331 and Online

Whether you’re looking to connect with industry representatives, discover new opportunities or learn new approaches to filmmaking, our daily virtual Networking Sessions and Workshops offer the perfect opportunity to meet with professionals from across the film sector. Start a conversation, discuss your work and meet contacts who could transform your career – you never know where it could take you.

Sound Installation

Friday 5 – Sunday 7 November
Spark York | 12.00-21.00

Here’s your chance to sit down, relax, unwind and re-engage with your surroundings. Consider the role that sound plays: what do we hear? What do we choose to ignore? Take a moment and consider how sound creates vast landscapes in the mind, conjures memories and stimulates the senses. New to Aesthetica Short Film Festival, this one-off installation is located in Spark York, one of the city’s most popular outdoor venues.

BFI & Film Hub North Mixer

Thursday 4 November | 18.00-19.00
Virtual | Pre-Registration Required

Film Hub North hosts a mixer event for writers and writer-directors currently developing a short film and producers looking to expand their slate. This informal online meet-up introduces filmmakers based in the North to prospective producers with the aim of forging new connections and kick-starting collaborations on shorts aiming for BFI Network funds. The BFI NETWORK team will be in attendance to keep the conversation going.

VR Happy Hour

Wednesday 3 November | 18.30-20.30
City Screen | York

This is the perfect place to generate ideas, debate and collaborate with new industry connections about the potential for Virtual Reality entertainment and beyond. A destination for those working, or interested in, new technologies and the role they play in the future of cinema. Meet forward-thinking individuals at this relaxed drinks reception, with private access to the VR Lab.


Thursday 4 November
York Theatre Royal | 19.30-21.00

We are working with We Are Parable to launch a new network focused around supporting filmmaking talent for people of colour in the UK. We Are Parable is Anthony and Teanne Andrews, who have created a legacy of events that provide opportunities for audiences to experience and respond to Black Cinema in culturally relevant and memorable ways. This is a space to form collaborations.

Fully Booked/button]

Meet the Filmmakers

Thursday 4 November | 19.00-21.00
Rose Within the Walls | York

York’s Hilton hotel boasts a stylish new gin bar, Rose Within The Walls. A hidden gem tucked away from the bustling city centre, this modern bar is the perfect place to unwind with a delicious Mason’s gin and tonic. Come and enjoy a drink opposite one of York’s best-known historical landmarks and connect with friends old and new. Attendees receive a free gin on entry, served on a first-come, first-served basis.

Industry Marketplace

Friday 5 November | 10.30-17.00
Drinks 17.00-18.00 | Mansion House

Following its launch in 2019, and second virtual edition in 2020, ASFF proudly hosts its third Industry Marketplace. This is a unique platform in the UK, taking place on one of the festival’s busiest days, providing a vital platform for filmmakers, new talent and delegates to connect with leading production services, agencies, film festivals and universities. Connect, engage and discuss.
Click here for more information.

Blind as a Beat: Premiere  

Friday 5 November | 18:30-20:00
York Theatre Royal Studio

This year, Aesthetica Short Film Festival and Audible teamed up to run The Listening Pitch. The 2021 recipients are Jessi Gutch and Liz Jackson, with an artistic celebration of the power of listening set against the backdrop of a film director’s failing eyesight, told through four phases of loss. Join us for the premiere of Blind as a Beat and a Q&A with the filmmakers about the project. Followed by a drinks reception.

Streaming On Demand

LCF Drinks Reception

Friday 5 November | 18.00-19.00
Pitcher & Piano

UAL’s London College of Fashion is one of the UK’s leading institutions, using the subject of fashion to shape lives and drive economic and social transformation. Join alumni and university professors alike for a unique screening and relaxed social to discuss the future of a changing art form and its wider relevance within today’s content-driven, media-circulated landscape. Drinks will be offered post-screening.

Celebrating Women in Film

with Sara Putt Associates
Los Moros | 5 November | 19.00-21.00

This fantastic dinner, sponsored by Sara Putt Associates, is an opportunity for established and emerging women filmmakers to network and connect. We celebrate the outstanding achievements of women in film – from directors, producers and writers, to editors, cinematographers and more – and offer a unique opportunity to discuss future collaborations. A destination for inspiration and idea generation. Invitation only.

Friday Night Party

Friday 5 November | 21.00-Late

Helping to carry Aesthetica Short Film Festival through into a weekend of social events and inspiring cinema, 1331 hosts the renowned Friday Night Party. Located in York’s vibrant Grape Lane, the party provides the ideal location to join in with the festivities or re-group with new friends. Grab a drink, connect with other industry guests and prepare for the busy weekend of screenings and events that lies ahead of you.