First published in The Guardian 9th October 2013

Film festivals may take place all over the UK, but not many are able to engage quite so seamlessly with the natural surroundings as the Aesthetica short film festival in York.

The festival’s 15 unexpected screening sites have been chosen to allow filmgoers to experience the rich, medieval history of York while taking in the best of contemporary short film.
Cherie Federico, Aestheica’s director, says the festival is a chance to “turn a city into a cinema”. Locations include the medieval King’s Manor buildings, which was the seat of government for Tudors and Stuarts and is now home to the University of York’s archaeology department.
Thirteen Thirty One, a quirky gastro-pub in York’s Latin Quarter, has its own cinema, complete with reclining seats and table service, and is also one of the venues.
Aesthetica is tapping into the market of film buffs who want more than the standard Cineworld or Odeon experience. Innovative new ways to screen films are becoming increasingly popular, demonstrated by Secret Cinema events and the pop-up Hot Tub Cinema projects.
Federico says the decision to allow screenings to cover all corners of York “gives festival-goers the opportunity to experience some of the best independent film while discovering the distinct and rich setting”.
There are 300 short films from 30 different countries, all of which are being shown on each day of the festival, so ticket holders have the chance to see as much as they can. Weekend tickets are priced at £30, but there are other options available from
There will also be a wealth of networking opportunities, with representatives from Channel 4, Film 4 and Bafta. Networking events are priced at £7 and masterclasses with industry talents including Alice Lowe, Cowboy Films and Raindance’s Chris Thomas are £8.50.

Harriet’s film picks

Victor Orozco Ramirez’s Reality 2.0, an animated documentary about drug-related violence in Mexico.
Jassim Al Nofaly’s Panda, a drama from Kuwait following a young man on the eve of his wedding.
Muriel d’Ansemboug’s Good Night, a coming-of-age short featuring two 14-year-old girls who want to explore their newly discovered sexuality while out on the town.
Eamonn O’Neill’s I’m Fine Thanks, an animated tale of a young man struggling with the inadequacies present in his daily life.


Posted by:harrietpwilliamson