Aesthetica Short Film Festival

Tom Grieve, Cinema Editor
'Omos', directed by Rhys Hollis
She | Dir. Idris Fassisi. Courtesy of Directors Notes / Can We Talk

Aesthetica Short Film Festival at City Screen Picturehouse, York 8 — 12 November 2023 Tickets from £28 — Book now

One of the UK’s most interesting film-focused events, York’s Aesthetica Short Film Festival returns for a 13th edition this November. Known for its innovative, expansive view of the industry, the festival continues its expansion with independent shorts and features, alongside virtual reality and immersive works, and a brand new Games Lab scheduled for 2023.

There are so many industry events, masterclasses and discussions that it’s hard to know where to start. From scriptwriting events from the BBC Writersroom, to iconic animation from the team at Aardman, and numerous opportunities to learn from Ridley Scott Associates. There are practical conversations planned, such as What is the Role of the Intimacy Coordinator?, as well as some more theoretical — but no less instructive — discussions, including The Female Gaze: Women Depicting Women.

A chance to hear from Cornish filmmaker Mark Jenkin (Bait) should prove inspirational to filmmakers hoping to make their mark, while the likes of Tom Knights, Senior Narrative Designer at Ubisoft will also be at the festival to talk about interactive narrative design in video games. Indeed, whether your interest lies in fashion photography, sound engineering, film marketing or some other corner of the industry, there’s something for you here.

Of course, this is a film festival — and there’s plenty to see on the big screen too. The international programme covers documentary, fiction and everything in between with works of all genres spread across five evocatively titled including “Now, in this Very Moment” and “Standing at the Threshold of Change”. Those familiar with Aesthetica will know what to expect, but newcomers can look forward to daring, innovative work that tends to engage viewers on an aesthetic or political level.

As mentioned, there’s also a VR & Immersive Experiences Lab that showcases cutting edge, experimental technologies that bring audiences closer to the action than ever before. Plus, there’s the new Games Lab which showcases 35 new games by developers driving narrative forward using interactive media.

For 2023, the festival continues to operate a hybrid model, with in-person events scheduled across the city (the Festival hub being the foyer of the Picturehouse City Screen) from 8 – 12 November, and online content such as films screenings and recorded events available online for the rest of the month.

Aesthetica Short Film Festival at City Screen Picturehouse, York 8 — 12 November 2023 Tickets from £28 Book now

Where to go near Aesthetica Short Film Festival

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The Basement

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Bettys York

This traditional Yorkshire tea room has beautiful interiors inspired by the Queen Mary ocean liner and it’s been making a splash since 1936.

House of the Trembling Madness
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Famed for its unbelievably small kitchen, impressively huge collection of beers, & its rich and varied history, the medieval ale house is also associated with its quirky taxidermy animal collection.

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Sotano

Sotano, in York, is a divine Mediterranean tapas bar and restaurant, also serving charcuterie boards of the finest ingredients.

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Guild of Media Arts

The Guild of Media Arts was formed in 2015 as the lifelong custodian of York’s designation as a UNESCO City of Media Arts. Thy run socials, network events and workshops.

Bloom!
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Bloom!

Festival launched in 2018 to celebrate 250 years of the Ancient Society of York Florists, now an annual event focusing on floral displays and hidden gems in York.

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Izakaya

Tasting menus and full course dining experiences are on offer, bridging relaxed and fine dining to suit every taste with Japanese cuisine.

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Evil Eye

Evil Eye in York is a cocktail bar focused on embracing the spiritual, and engaging with the community.

Mediale
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Mediale

International media arts festival bringing world premiere commissions from leading artists and a platform for emerging artists.

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Valhalla is ‘a venue that paid homage to York’s Viking heritage and somewhere with purely Rock ‘n Metal music in its soul’.

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