EIFF's Lydia Beilby and Iain Gardner recently attended York's Aesthetica Short Film Festival in York to see the best new short films, meet filmmakers and share their knowledge!

Early November in the UK is the time for trick-or-treating and remembering Guy Fawkes, the York born conspirator who failed to destroy Parliamentary Democracy on the 5 November 1605. York and November also feature in the film festival circuit, with the annual edition of Aesthetica Short Film Festival.

Our Short Film Programmer Lydia Beilby, joined by our Animation Programmer Iain Gardner, attended this year’s event to watch films, meet filmmakers and share their knowledge of short film in the wonderful world of film festivals…

“Having grown up in York, it's always a real pleasure to visit Aesthetica and to discover the ways that the festival integrally uses York as a veritable cinematic playground, with pop-up venues for screenings nestled into the very fabric of this beautiful city: in garrets amid the city walls, contemporary art spaces, medieval dining halls, museums and the atmospheric Theatre Royal.

“Iain and I arrived on Friday morning, travelling with our trusty bicycles (the cycling programmers!) in order to participate in the 'Meet the Film Festivals' event. This was a great opportunity to meet filmmakers and to speak to them about EIFF. With our change in premiere rules for UK Shorts (we now require films to be a Scottish premiere only, with no premiere restrictions on UK animation - hooray!) this was particularly good opportunity to spread the word about our recently opened submissions. We spoke to many filmmakers that evening, even a few whose work we've shown at EIFF. It was a particular treat to see Gianluca Sodaro, whose darkly humorous short God's Got His Head in the Clouds enjoyed its world premiere with us in 2012, and has since screened over fifty times around the world.

“Saturday too brought further EIFF participation, with the Programming for a Film Festival panel. The busy public event brought together programmers from Doc Fest, Flatpack, Cork, Encounters and Dublin Film Festivals. I always enjoy these panels as not only is it fascinating to hear about how different festivals approach their curation, but it's a friendly, open space where filmmakers can ask festival representatives advice on any aspect of festivals and programming; it's a kind of skill sharing, where anyone at any stage in their career can ask those niggling questions that could really help them further the exposure of their work.

“My other role at Aesthetica this year had been serving on the Short Film Jury, a most enjoyable undertaking where I was lucky enough to be entertained, moved and startled cinematically by the finest of Aesthetica's programme, drawn from the dance, experimental, children's, fiction, documentary and animation sections. The coveted 'Best of the Fest' prize went to a very deserving winner, Fabio Palmeiro for the timely and politically potent Irregulars. A stinging documentary in which one refugee's story is set to the disconcerting visuals of a mannequin factory.

“And now, with barely a moments pause, I'm on my way to Winterthur Film Festival in Switzerland, where I'll be looking for more exciting new short films to include in our festival next year. Viva Short Film!

Photos 1&3: © Jim Poyner, courtesy of Aesthetica Short Film Festival

2: God's Got His Head in the Clouds (still), Gianluca Sodaro

4: Irregulars (still), Fabio Palmeiro


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About Lydia Beilby

Lydia is Short Film Programmer for Edinburgh International FIlm Festival


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