Aesthetica Film Festival: Review

asff 2013It is often said that film is art, that all of what is created in the film industry is the result of one vision – one artist. Though recently I have come to reject this assumption. Surely, if film truly was the product of an artist, then all credit would be given to that sole performer for their work as an individual, which very clearly isn’t the case. What the Aesthetica Short Film Festival has taught me, among all else, is quite the opposite – that art itself is film and that filmmakers do what they do out of sheer determination to create something special. Aesthetica, therefore, deserves notable recognition.

All heartfelt commentaries aside, Aesthetica 2013 was certainly the most spectacular event I have encountered at York thus far. It exceeded all of my expectations. Even the simplicity of the experience tied in with my enjoyment not being thwarted by distances between venues or technical difficulties, you might even say it was faultless.

Notwithstanding the weather, which changed on a regular basis, journeying through the maze that is York, it was unexpectedly pleasant. On the first day of Aesthetica, I managed to witness some of the poignant historical venues such as Kings Manor, St William’s College and the Yorkshire Museum,
all of which were aesthetically breathtaking.

Not only had I entered a whole world of short film, but I had been taken on a historical itinerary that charged my seemingly unending – and almost embarrassing – excitement. Without straying off topic too much, it is certainly worth picking up on the interior of the venues. The surroundings were unparalleled, furniture placed appropriately and lights perfectly dimmed in a way that invited you in and guaranteed your comfort. These undoubtedly added to the already profound atmosphere in the room, fuelling my, and everybody else’s, excitement.

Alongside the majesties of the venues, and perhaps of greater importance, was indeed the content. Thousands of people flocked to experience these shorts, and in truth, this doesn’t surprise me. At first, watching a rather dull drama entitled Happiness, I felt rather sceptical of the forthcoming shorts. Of course, this instantly changed and by the late afternoon I was hooked – in fact, I found it physically challenging trying to hold myself back from ‘over-covering’ the event, if such a thing was even possible.

A few of my favourite films included Who is Gilbert Prousch?, a documentary directed by Nora Ganthaler, The Eclipse of Taregna, an Indian feature written by Rakesh Chaudhary, and Under The Fold, a light-hearted animation focusing on optimism during the horrors of the Great Depression. Although praising the aforementioned films personally, I’d be lying if I said there was a single movie I hated, again stressing the artistry of short film.

Frankly, I am glad festivals like Aesthetica notice the talent that manifests itself in the contemporary short film industry and that continues to thrive among some of the bigger Hollywood movies to date. It feels almost inappropriate to say farewell to the festival, not just because it is an annual event, but because it remains a timeless experience. Not only did it help me fall in love with the City of York, but more importantly it made me fall back in love with film.