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The Aesthetica Short Film Festival took over the city of York between the 3rd and 6th of November with its presentation of a superb blend of over 400 short films from across the globe. I found the festival to be an enlightening experience – you can read my thoughts on it here – and there was no doubting the quality of the artwork that was on offer. In this piece I shall outline my top five picks from the huge selection of films I managed to cram into my weekend-long experience, but I should first offer the disclaimer that this is by no means a definitive collection simply because I couldn’t manage to fit all 400 plus films into my schedule. For a more definitive collection of the most appreciated of all of ASFF’s screened shorts, make sure to check the footer of this article for the official award winners.
5 – Supporting Film
Supporting Film (2015)
The Netherlands -Go Short
Director: Douwe Dijkstra
Supporting Film/Voor Film pointed the camera in on the viewer and specifically the ways those with sensory impairments experience cinema to present a creatively animated and well told documentary that is a must-watch for any film fan. A truly engaging and eye-opening 11 minutes or so, this Dutch film was a truly memorable part of the documentary screenings at ASFF 2016.
4 – 90 Grad Nord
90 Grad Nord (2015)
Germany – K17 Films
Director: Detsky Graffam
Screenwriter: Detsky Graffam
This German comedy lit up screens with its sometimes brutal and often brutally funny presentation of a man’s failed journey to work and a clever satire of a German’s struggle to disobey traffic signals. Dark but hysterically funny, this Detsky Graffam movie looked deeply at our societal belief in systems.
3 – Elders
UK – Channel 4 – Creative Diversity Alpha Fund
Director: Glen Milner
Glen Milner’s presentation of the longest marriage in the world was one that was astoundingly uplifting courtesy of its fascinating and wonderfully adorable central subjects. This picture is 7 minutes of happiness that you simply can’t deny yourself of.
2 – Fragments of May
Fragments of May (2015)
UK – xFilm
Director: Maria Pia Fanigliulo
Screenwriter: Maria Pia Fanigliulo
This presentation of a woman suffering from mental illness was both moving and thought-provoking courtesy of its imaginative concept of visualising the protagonist’s issues through her living in two separate worlds. Though at times difficult to watch because of its unflinching portrayals of depression, Fanigliulo’s work excellently handled its fragile themes and was a thoroughly excellent visual experience.
1 – A New Civilization
A New Civilization (2014)
USA – New York University
Director: Williams Naranjo
Screenwriter: Williams Naranjo
Presented in Spanish, this tale of Venezuelan public servants who stand up to a weapon-wielding authoritative figure in the name of democracy, is a thought-provoking and intricately presented piece that was riveting from start to finish and was undeniably moving.
The ASFF Official Award Winners
Best Advertising Film – Robo-Trumble
Best Animation – Machine
Best Artists Film – Solo Damas
Best Comedy – 90 Grad Nord
Best Dance – Lay Me Low
Best Documentary – Irregulars
Best Drama – Silence
Best Experimental – Two Signs’ Den: Epilogue
Best Fashion – Breaking Rules
Best Music Video – Mountainside
Best Screenplay – Rhonna and Dhonna
Best Thriller – Cork Man
York Youth Vote – Litterbugs
People’s Choice Award – Dust and Resin
Best Film – Irregulars