The Art of Filmmaking

Every year, ASFF welcomes industry leaders from a range of disciplines to speak about their craft. Read more on our masterclasses and panel discussions focusing on commissioning and project development. These include discussions with producers and film curators as well as sessions with Film 4 and BBC representatives, and production companies such as Black Dog Films.

Film Programming in the Online Age 

Physical cinemas have endured an enforced period of closure due to COVID-19, with a huge rise of titles taking to streaming services. This panel, hosted by journalist and industry expert Charles Gant (Screen International), looks at the myriad challenges and opportunities film curators face as they look to connect their audiences with a wider film culture. Panellists include: Joan Parsons (Head of Queens Film Theatre Belfast), Julie Pearce (BFI) and Mark Cosgrove (Head Curator, Watershed Bristol).

2 November, Virtual Only, Channel 1

How do you start a film festival? Hear From Our Director Cherie Federico

Aesthetica was founded in 2003 as an art and culture magazine and has since grown to become an international brand – encompassing a magazine, film festival, art prize and symposium. Join us for a chance to hear from Aesthetica’s Director, Cherie Federico, and learn about what it takes to set up a film festival – how to develop audiences for independent film. Federico will talk you through the process of realising an idea, transforming a passion for independent cinema into becoming director of a leading UK film festival.

2 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

Lizzie Francke: The Executive Producer’s Tale 

Lizzie Francke started out as a critic and curator before moving into producing and then executive producing for the BFI Film Fund. With a range of credits including Peter Strickland’s The Duke of Burgundy, William Oldroyd’s Lady Macbeth, Lynne Ramsey’s You Were Never Really Here, Richard Billingham’s Ray & Liz, Joanna Hogg’s The Souvenir, Hong Khaou’s Monsoon, Ben Sharrock’s Limbo and Cathy Brady’s Wildfire, Francke’s role at the BFI is to bring pioneering new contemporary voices to the screen. Francke shares valuable insights.

2 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

VOD: The Impact on the Film Landscape 

Writer Wendy Ide (The Observer, Screen International) hosts a timely panel looking at the impact of streaming on the industry today. Firmly established in the wake of the pandemic, does streaming give more power to audiences, and, moreover, how can physical cinemas and streaming platforms exist in synergy in a new cultural landscape? Speakers include: Allison Gardner (Glasgow Film Festival Director and Glasgow Film Theatre) and Damian Spandley (Director of Programme and Distribution Curzon).

3 November, Virtual Only, Channel 1

Capacity of Private Space: Producing Artists’ Film Post-Covid

Sinead McCarthy, Curator at the Museum of Home, and Phoebe Roberts, Curator at Artangel, will speak about producing artists’ film in today’s landscape, against the backdrop of The Soft Prison, a new exhibition that surveys 30 years of artists’ film that are concerned with domestic spaces, including works by Rachel Whiteread, Clio Barnard, De’Anne Crooks and Margaret Salmon. Formerly colleagues at Artangel, Sinead and Phoebe will discuss the production of artists’ films that form the backbone of this exhibition.

3 November, York Explore

BBC Film: Developing New Voices 

BBC Film supports invigorating and imaginative filmmaking, with recent and esteemed credits including British successes Ammonite, Supernova, His House and After Love.  Dionne Farrell returns to ASFF to join emerging directors John Ogunmuyiwa (Mandem) and Sophie Littman (Jellyfish) to discuss the wider development process, working with new talent and the various routes into filmmaking. Expect pragmatic advice on finding your voice, getting projects off the ground and realising your vision.

3 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

A Larger Canvas: From Shorts to Features 

Film4 is renowned for developing and co-financing distinctive, innovative projects that push boundaries and captivate viewers, with recent releases including Saint Maud, Rocks, Last Night in Soho and Everyone’s Talking About Jaime. In this masterclass, Development and Production Executive, Max Park, talks about spotting potential, nurturing new voices and navigating the tricky transition from shorts to features. An essential session for anyone looking to move their filmmaking to a larger canvas, and consider their next big move.

4 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

Producing Compelling Content: A Guide For Creators 

Black Dog Films is a production company who works with international talent to produce content. Part of the Ridley Scott Creative Group, Black Dog works with the world’s hottest musicians – recent collaborations include Arlo Parks, Years & Years and Michael Kiwanuka – and biggest brands – Adidas, Nike, Calvin Klein – to produce compelling promotional films. In this masterclass, Black Dog Global Head Martin Roker offers an essential guide for

filmmakers looking to make eye-catching promotional films.

4 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

Producing Award-Winning Films: David Parfitt in Conversation 

David has worked as an independent film, TV and theatre producer for over 30 years. His film credits include Henry V, Much Ado About Nothing, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein, Twelfth Night and Shakespeare in Love. In 2010, he produced the BAFTA-nominated My Week with Marilyn, followed in 2011 by Tom Stoppard’s award-winning adaptation of Parade’s End for BBC and HBO. His latest film, The Father, starring Anthony Hopkins was nominated for an Oscar. Hear from David what it takes to produce award-winning work.

4 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

WePresent: Compelling Film Commissions 

Is it possible to work with a brand and still remain authentic and challenged creatively? Holly Fraser, Editor-in-Chief of WeTransfer’s digital arts platform, WePresent, would like to think so. In this masterclass session, Holly dives into some of WePresent’s most compelling film commissions to share how the platform gives an opportunity to filmmakers and artists to tell stories that change the conversation. From being Executive Producer to Riz Ahmed and Aneil Karia’s The Long Goodbye to working with illustration sensation Polly Nor and collaborating with Michel Gondry.

4 November, Virtual Only, Channel 1

Funding Models: Accessing Finance 

We all know that it’s tough to access funding for films, and many outstanding independent productions are made on a shoestring budget. It’s essential to make your project stand out in front of the crowd, even when there are limited funding opportunities. Whether you are applying for screen agency funds or approaching private investors, it’s vital that a project is pitched correctly. A panel of creatives from our Official Selection give their tips of making a project stand out and discuss the best routes for financing a film.

5 November, York Explore & Available On Demand 

The Future of Film Festivals 

The global pandemic has resulted in radical change to the way film festivals are presented and consumed with leading festivals such pivoting to combine online and restricted live screenings, whilst Berlin and Cannes cancelled or postponed screenings and took their marketplaces online. Hybrid future editions seem set to become industry standard. What is the cultural and economic role of the contemporary film festival in an industry of rapid change? Hosted by previous director of London and Sydney film festivals and current ASFF Advisory Board Chair, Clare Stewart.

6 November, York Theatre Royal & Available On Demand

Mia Bays in Conversation with Kate Muir 

In this session Mia Bays, the new Director of the BFI Film Fund will speak in conversation with Kate Muir about her career as the Director of Bird’s Eye View, advocacy for women in film and television and her new role as the BFI. The Fund supports UK feature film production, which at £30 million a year represents the largest public fund in the UK for film and filmmakers, as well as new and emerging talent through BFI NETWORK. Recently supported features include seven-times BAFTA nominee and multi BAFTA-winning Rocks directed by Sarah Gavron; and Ammonite, directed by Francis Lee.

6 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

Career Strategy: Taking Control 

Hear from a panel of women about their journeys through the film industry. This session will look at points of entry, building yourself as a brand, developing a network, having a successful freelance career as well as the hurdles and obstacles. We will also look at challenges women face in the sector and offer practice advice to empower yourself. We will hear from a director, cinematographer, and sound designer about their industry experiences. Sara Putt, Deputy Chair of Women in Film & TV will lead this session.

6 November, York Theatre Royal

Sam Baron in Conversation 

Sam Baron has directed award-winning short films and music videos, and his feature screenplay The Science of Love won the prestigious Nicholl Fellowship. Sam is now developing a slate of film and TV projects with production companies such as Blueprint, New Pictures, DNA Films and Rollout Productions. For this in-conversation event, Sam will discuss his experiences developing projects in the UK and the US, and the process of adapting his short film The Orgy for television. He will also premiere his new short film Big Ears.

7 November, Yorkshire Museum, Channel 2

Immersive Curatorship

VR is being used more and more by museums and galleries to expand the potential of exhibitions and push public programming into new realms of the imagination. However, beyond interpretation, VR is being used to help explore new ideas and developments in the exhibition sector. What aspects do curators need to consider when programming a show using VR? Are the parameters of curatorship the same or evolving with this new technology? How might their roles change over the coming years, and how might this, in turn, potentially change the face of the public institution at large?

7 November, York Explore & Available On Demand


Masterclasses will run in-person in York, UK, from 2-7 November. Most sessions will also be recorded and will be available to stream on our virtual platform until 30 November. Learn more about our masterclasses here. Tickets start from £25. Discover our pass options here.