THE 2016 Aesthetica Short Film Festival 2016 opens today for a four-day run in 18 locations across York as the city is transformed into a cinematic playground.

Screening and event venues are all within walking distance of each other inside the city walls for the sixth edition of this BAFTA Qualifying festival, which will present the largest programme to date with 400 films in competition.

From this morning until Sunday night, the event lets festival-goers explore the diversity of short film in drama, animation, documentary, fashion, experimental, comedy, thriller, music video, artists' film, family friendly, advertising and dance genres. The Official Selection unites artists from across the world, showcasing filmmaking talent from 40 countries worldwide.

Festival attendees are invited to vote for their favourite film in the People’s Choice Award with voting cards and boxes being placed in each venue. The winner of this award, along with the winners of Best of Fest, Best of Category, York Youth Vote and the £1,000 Northern Film School Award for Best Screenplay, will be announced at the 7pm awards ceremony on Sunday at the National Centre for Early Music.

Committed to bringing timely films to York, ASFF 2016 also hosts a special screening of Battle Of The Somme to mark the film’s centenary, in partnership with The Imperial War Museum, London. The film presented a pivotal moment in the First World War to audiences across Britain in 1916 and will be shown at York Army Museum each day at 1pm.

Festival director Cherie Federico says: “ASFF offers something for everyone to enjoy with such an array of filmic styles across the 400 shorts in the programme.

York Press:

Aesthetica Short Film Festival director Cherie Federico

"I'm particularly excited about this year’s festival because there are so many new events taking place, such as the Showcase Screenings exhibiting fresh talent, each followed by a panel discussion, and the Meet The Festivals Marketplace at Belfrey Hall, uniting filmmakers with programmers in a one-stop shop to talk to any festival – London, Edinburgh, Berlin etcetera – about what they're looking for."

Cherie draws attention to the Screen Agency networking opportunity too. "All the UK screen agencies are coming together to use York as a marketplace to promote British film," she says. "That's a real coup for us to have something like this happening in this city. Not only film aficionados will be coming to the festival, but so will talent spotters."

The ASFF programme now runs to a record 190 pages. "There's so much more happening this year; what can I say, we've pulled out all the stops, covering all aspects of the film industry," Cherie enthuses. "There are 400 films, compared with 300 last year; three more venues, including Belfrey Hall and the York Army Museum, and the return of York Theatre Royal; and more masterclasses than ever before by the likes of the BBC, RADA and the Association of Camera Operators.

"Then there's the York Army Museum screenings and a talk by Professor Andrew Higson from the University of York film department on the Saturday; the Videotheque at York Explore, where there's an opportunity to see any of the films showing at the festival; and morning coffee at According To McGee in Tower Street, with Q and A sessions there, free to attend for festival pass holders."

Look out too for Cinema Bambino at various venues. "It's the chance to bring your little ones to the festival," says Cherie, whose inspiration for this festival addition was the birth of her daughter, Amelie, who is now four months old. "Please note, the films will be for adults, rather than the children," she adds.

Looking ahead to next year, Cherie has a new target in mind. "We can apply for Academy Awards Qualifying status next year after our seventh festival, and to achieve that would be something spectacular for us," she says. "It's great that they've invited us to apply once we're eligible. I'm super-excited about that: I can't even say how exciting that would be."

Screening passes and festival tickets can be booked online at or by calling 01904 629137. All events are ticketed and places must be booked in advance due to limited capacity. Passes and tickets can be bought too between 9am and 5pm, today until Sunday, at The Festival Hub, Visit York, Museum Street, York. For full details of ASFF 2016, visit