Aesthetica Film Festival’s 14th Edition:

The 14th edition of the Aesthetica Film Festival will run from 6-30 November 2024 in York, UK. We will deliver a hybrid experience, with in-person events from 6-10 November and the On Demand digital platform running from 6-30 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. You can submit to 12 genres as well as VR Projects, 360 Films, Games, Narrative and Documentary Features.

Selected films will screen in competition and be eligible for our coveted awards, including Best in Category and the Best of Festival Award. The festival is BAFTA-Qualifying for short films and £5,000 of cash prizes are up for grabs.


About Aesthetica Film Festival:

The Aesthetica Short Film Festival is BAFTA and BIFA-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 BFI Doc Society, We Are Parable, Directors' Notes, Scottish Documentary Institute and Film4, 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 Studiocanal. 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, Asif Kapadia, Sally Potter, Francis Lee, 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.


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 16 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.


What delegates and attendees say about Aesthetica:

“A festival like this re-motivates and rejuvenates the filmmaking community ... that’s why it’s so valuable.” - Mark Cousins, Filmmaker, Curator

“ASFF is my favourite short film festival. Good people. Good energy. And always so well organised and curated” - Shelley Jones, Video Commissioner, NOWNESS

“I must say I was blown away with the online set up and set up was and how professionally it was run. Hats off to the team.” - James Friend, Cinematographer

“It was my first time attending ASFF, and what a buzzing hive of talent it was! I’ve made some wonderful discoveries of the next generation of storytellers and am privileged to have been able to participate in talks, pitches and judging some of the official competitions!” - Dionne Farrell, Development Executive, BBC Films

“It was an enormous pleasure to be involved in Aesthetica. I really enjoyed it and found the whole thing deeply impressive, and it was lovely to have such an enthusiastic audience! - David M. Thompson, Producer

“I can’t speak highly enough of the festival. The organisation and communication was top notch. And All the venues were great. Met a lot of great filmmakers and industry contacts. Next year’s festival is already in my diary.” - Samona Olanipekun, Filmmaker and Winner of Best Experimental at ASFF 2019

“I had a great time, love the festival, it’s so exciting seeing so many new filmmakers walking the streets and at events, really inspiring.” - Charlie Philips, Head of Documentaries Guardian Docs

“The festival has been great. It’s great to have somewhere where everyone is like-minded. Creativity is something that should be shared." - Tracy Granger, Editor

Aesthetica is one of the UK’S leading film events, recognised by the BFI as a Festival of National Significance and being both BAFTA and BIFA-Qualifying for short film.

All films selected will screen in competition and will be eligible for our Best in Category Awards which are decided by a jury of industry experts.

In addition to the Best in Category awards, Aesthetica presents a number of special awards which offer project support, services as well as a combined total of £5000 in cash prizes.

Special Awards:
- Best of Festival – all selected films eligible
- Best Cinematography – all selected films eligible
- Best Director – all selected films eligible
- Best Editing – all selected films eligible
- Best Screenplay – all selected films eligible

Category Awards:
- Best Advertising Film
- Best Animation
- Best Artists' Film
- Best Comedy
- Best Dance Film
- Best Documentary
- Best Drama
- Best Experimental Film
- Best Family Friendly Film
- Best Game
- Best Music Video
- Best Thriller
- Best VR, Immersive & 360 Project
- Best Narrative Feature
- Best Documentary Feature

Supporting and Championing Film & Screen Culture

We are looking for filmmakers who are driving film forward through inspirational and innovative works. Whether you are an established or emerging practitioner, we want to see your work.

We are also looking for developers and coders to submit games for our new Games Lab as we expand our reach to recognise talent across film, games and XR.

We accept submissions of short films across 12 categories as well as narrative and documentary features, VR, immersive and 360 films, as well as games.

The Official Selection will be shown in 10 venues across York, UK from 6-10 November 2024 and showcased on our online platform from 6-30 November 2024. This is an excellent opportunity to showcase your work to an international audience of filmmakers, industry delegates and film fans.

Submission Timeline:
- Entries Open | 1 December 2023
- Regular Deadline | 31 May 2024
- Late Deadline | 9 June 2024
- The Official Selection will be announced 31 August 2024
- The live edition of Aesthetica takes place in the York, UK from 6-10 November 2024
- On Demand service will be available via our virtual festival platform from 6-10 November 2024. This is a ticketed platform.
- Winners will be announced at the Awards Ceremony on Sunday 10 November 2024.

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 will also be considered as features.
- 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. We do not supply any additional equipment beyond headsets and VR laptops.
- All films in languages other than English must have burnt in subtitles.
- We do not have a premiere requirement. We will accept submissions of films that have previously screened elsewhere, including at other festivals.
- There are no completion date requirements, but films completed in the two years prior to the festival are preferred.
- The festival does not grant fee waivers under any circumstances.
- 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.

If your work is selected:
- We do not cover licensing or screening fees for selected projects, as films are in competition and have been submitted to us.
- The festival will be a hybrid event, with selected films available online via our closed platform from 6-30 November. Access to this is international and as standard, we will not geo-block content. If you are selected to screen and require geo-blocking, please inform the team and we can set this up for you.
- All films in the English language are provided with a correctly formatted subtitle file (.srt) to ensure that all content is accessible.
- We retain the right to use stills, trailers and excerpts of your work for the purposes of promotions, including the festival trailer, filmmaker interviews and social media posts.

Technical Specifications:
Should your film be selected to screen at Aesthetica Film Festival, there are specific technical requirements the screening copy of your film must meet. Please read these carefully:

For More Information
Please refer to our website:

Overall Rating
  • Mick Hannigan

    Amazing festival and all the other projects they do. It was an honour to have our film there

    February 2024
  • Julien Allen

    Amazing festival. We were also thrilled that our film screened several times. Lots of opportunities to network, pitch and attend various events too, so great for filmmakers.

    December 2023
  • Nick Rutter

    Great festival, awesome films, great City.

    December 2023
  • We screened our film in Aesthetica's THRILLER program and loved everything about the experience. Hope to be back sometime!

    November 2023
  • Al Clark

    Aesthetica is an incredible festival, set in the beautiful city of York. The staff our wonderful and there are so many fantastic masterclasses, panel talks and events as well as a selection of brilliant shorts from around the world. We were delighted that Safe was the chosen as the opening night film in 2023 and we went on to win both the Best Screenplay and Best Director award so we were thrilled. Thank you for programming us.

    November 2023