Submit Your Film

The 11th edition of the Aesthetica Film Festival will run from 2-30 November 2021 in York, UK. We will deliver a new hybrid experience, with in-person events from 2-7 November and the On Demand digital platform running from 2-30 November to complement the festival’s live experience. The Industry programme will include masterclasses, panels, networking, pitching and an opportunity for you to get involved. Entries are open for the 2021 edition. You can submit to 12 genres as well as VR projects, 360 films and narrative and documentary features. Selected films will screen in competition and be eligible for our coveted awards, including Best in Category, Best of Festival, Audience Choice and the Hijack Visionary Filmmaker Award. The festival is BAFTA-Qualifying for short films and £5000 of cash prizes are up for grabs.

Entries for the 2021 edition are now closed. Submissions for 2022 will open in December.

Our Curation

We are looking for bold stories that are told differently and inspire conversations. Film has the power to ignite, transform and change the world. Curation at Aesthetica is centred around powerful storytelling, compelling narratives and ideas. We programme the festival into six overarching strands, and these strands reflect the current state-of-play. These programmes are then sub-curated thematically by genre. We focus on the topics that are the most meaningful, pressing and present in our world. Film is a mechanism to understand the past and present, and it also offers a view of potential futures. Our curatorial team is comprised of 12 programmers who have a range of expertise and specialisations, having worked for some of the largest film festivals in the world. Through the curation, audiences explore new cultures, ideas and engage with the future greats of filmmaking.

BAFTA Recognised Festival British Short Film

Celebrating 10 Years

Meet the Filmmakers


ASFF is BAFTA-Qualifying and takes place in York, UK. It is one of the UK’s largest and most revered film events. We love independent film. It is at the heart of everything that we do. Our programming and curation are innovative and expansive. We believe that great film is transformative, and creativity should be shared. The Official Selection includes 300 shorts, features, VR and immersive works across 15 competitive categories, as well as non-competitive showcase screenings, presented by the UK’s leading film schools. Alongside these programmes, we work with global partners to curate guest programmes with impact. Recent organisations include Short of the Week, Directors Notes, Guardian Docs, BFI Doc Society amongst others. Aesthetica is an important outlet for moving image and digital culture, creating a platform that champions film and creatives from across the world. Equality, diversity and creativity underpin the entire programme. We believe in making opportunity for filmmakers and talent development is at the core of our industry programming. Industry activity includes masterclasses, spotlights, panels, networking and pitching sessions with distributors such as Film4, BBC Films and Lionsgate. We also have an Industry Marketplace to facilitate further collaborations. You can connect with leading production services, screen agencies, film festivals and film schools. Previous guests include Dame Judi Dench, Andrea Arnold, Sarah Gavron, Dick Pope, Sam Feder, Jeanie Finlay, Paul Franklin, Glenn Freemantle, Chinonye Chukwu, Maxine Peake, Philippa Lowthorpe, Rankin, Jeremy Deller, Simon Chinn as well as representatives from the likes of Aardman, BBC Films, Film4, BBC Writers Room, Framestore, Industrial Light & Magic, British Vogue and many more.

Categories for Submissions

Submissions are open to the following categories:


  • Advertising Film
  • Animation
  • Artists' Film
  • Comedy
  • Dance
  • Documentary
  • Drama
  • Experimental
  • Fashion Film
  • Music Video
  • Thriller
  • All short films should be 30 minutes or under.

VR & Immersive

  • VR & Immersive Experiences (Under 30 Minutes - Must be suitable for Oculus Rift or HTC systems)
  • 360 Video (Under 30 Minutes - Must be suitable for Oculus Go headsets)


  • Narrative Feature Film (60 - 120 Minutes)
  • Documentary Feature Film (60 - 120 Minutes)

Submission Timeline

Submissions are open to the following categories

  • 1 December 2020 | Entries Open
  • 31 December 2020 | Early Bird Submission Deadline
  • 31 May 2021 | Regular Submission Deadline
  • 6 June 2021 | Late Submission Deadline
  • September 2021 | Official Selection announced
  • 2 - 7 November 2021 | Live Festival taking place in York, UK
  • 2 - 30 November 2021 | Digital Festival
  • 7 November 2021 | Festival winners announced at the Awards Ceremony

Submission Fees

  • Early Bird Submissions | 1 - 31 December 2020 (Save 15%) Shorts £21.25 | Features £38.25 | 360, VR & Immersive £29.75
  • Regular Submissions | 1 January - 31 May 2021 Shorts £25 | Features £40 | 360, VR & Immersive £35
  • Late Submissions | 1 - 6 June 2021 Shorts £32 | Features £56 | 360, VR & Immersive £44


    • ASFF is one of the UK’S Leading and most expansive film events, recognised by the BFI as a festival of national significance and being both BAFTA and BIFA-qualifying for short film. The festival celebrates the work of outstanding filmmakers through its coveted awards. All films which are selected for the Official Selection will screen in competition and will be eligible for our Best in Category awards which are decided by a jury of industry experts and practitioners. In addition to the Best in Category awards, we present a number of special awards which offer project support, services as well as a combined total of £5000 in cash prizes.

Best in Category Awards:

      • Best Advertising Film (Short)
      • Best Animation Film (Short)
      • Best Artists' Film (Short)
      • Best Comedy Film (Short)
      • Best Dance Film (Short)
      • Best Documentary Film (Short)
      • Best Drama Film (Short)
      • Best Experimental Film (Short)
      • Best Music Video (Short)
      • Best Thriller Film (Short)
      • Best VR, Immersive & 360 Project (Short)
      • Best Narrative Feature Film
      • Best Documentary Feature Film

Special Awards:

      • Youth Award – Presented to a Family Friendly film
      • People’s Choice Award – all selected films eligible
      • Hijack Visionary Filmmaker Award – all selected films eligible
      • Best of Festival – all selected films eligible
    • All winners receive editorial in

Aesthetica Magazine

    and on Aesthetica's online channels.

Submission Guidelines

  • Short films should have a maximum running time of 30 minutes.
  • Feature films are considered to have a runtime of 60 minutes or over. Films of medium length that do not qualify as shorts may be considered as features in some cases, but please contact the team at
  • For 360 films, please ensure that your work is compatible with Oculus Go headsets as well as cardboard headsets. Please provide a downloadable link to your project as an mp4 file
  • For VR and Immersive experiences, please provide a link to a fully build of the project. Please also include a setup reader and full technical requirements. The festival does not supply any additional equipment beyond headsets and VR laptops.
  • All films in languages other than English must have burnt in subtitles.
  • There is no premiere requirement. We will accept submissions of films that have previously screened elsewhere, including at other festivals.
  • There is no required completion date for screening, but films completed in the past 2 years are preferred.
  • Only submissions through Filmfreeway will be considered.
  • Your entry form must include your name, address, telephone number and email so that we can contact you.
  • Your film must not be in breach of any copyright, including music or sound used in your film.
  • The link to your video included in your submission form must not expire.
  • Aesthetica is unable to grant waiver requests.
  • Aesthetica does not cover screening fees.
  • Submissions are final and subject to a no refund policy.
  • All submissions are watched in their entirety and given the full attention of our team of programmers. The date of submission has no reflection on our selection decisions.
  • View our FAQ page for more information.

Terms & Conditions

    • We do not cover licensing or screening fees for selected projects.
    • The 2021 festival will be a hybrid event, with selected films available online via our closed platform from 2-30 November Access to this is international and as standard, we will not geoblock content. If you are selected to screen and require geoblocking, you must inform the team.
    • All films in the English language are provided with a correctly formatted subtitle file (.srt) to ensure that all content is accessible.
    • We will use stills, trailers and experts for promotion, including the festival trailer, filmmaker interviews and social media

Technical Specifications