York Aesthetica Short Film Festival Review
Bright and early on Friday the 9th November, 40 thrilled students (year 10-13) and three excited teachers set off on a journey to York for the Aesthetica Short Film Festival, which would showcase a whole spectrum of new and inventive short films of a wide variety of different genres and in many different languages.
Arriving around 10:00am, we started our day with the ‘Directors Picks’, which essentially were ‘best of the best’, and they were truly amazing! The first short film we watched was a brilliantly tense piece titled ‘Seven’, in which Yohana, a teenage girl from the Norwegian Arctic, must decide the fate of the oil worker who has killed her father in just seven seconds, gripping the audience from the very start and creating an incredibly tense and charged atmosphere.
Another amazing yet utterly horrifying short film we watched was entitled ‘Fauve’, set in a surface mine where two boys enter an innocent game where they try to gain the upper hand on each other, however when they encounter sinking mud, the game becomes a nightmare as one of the boys is in serious danger, and since there is no one around to help, one of the boys succumbs to the mud, never to be seen again. The film pans out to the rest of the barren landscape, which creates a dark sense of ambiguity, leaving the audience to wonder how many bodies are hidden under the ground? It was safe to say that everyone was left in shock after that, and look down at the ground beneath our feet uncertainly! The showcase ended with the documentary ‘Black Sheep’, which told the story of Cornelius Walker and the murder of Damilola Taylor, was also incredibly moving and thought provoking as it explored issues of racism and a desire to ‘belong’ and ‘fit in’.
The sixth formers then broke off from the year 10s and 11s and were given freedom for the rest of the day, whilst we decided it was an early lunch time! After a hearty and healthy lunch at McDonalds (definitely NOT the selling point of the trip!), we then moved onto the next venue where we were ready to laugh our socks off at the Comedy genre. The first film we saw was the quirky ‘Excuse me I’m looking for the ping-pong room and my girlfriend’, which, as you can imagine, got people giggling from just the title. It detailed a rather odd yet endearing man who had clearly made his girlfriend upset on their holiday, however while he was being shouted at, he was fixated on the ‘bubble water’ (which the repetition alone of ‘bubble water’ was enough to make the audience smirk!). Another memorable film was ‘Sex-ed’ where a teacher, clearly troubled by his own love life, tried to teach a bunch of rowdy teenagers sexual education… and you better believe it went terribly wrong! With boys using phallic props as unicorn horns, and the teacher have an existential crisis about his wife and their fertility issues, it was certainly a ‘memorable’ lesson for everyone.
Finally, we walked to the National Centre for Early Music where we were prepared to be thrilled by the Thrillers! We watched ‘Eve’ which tackled the potential consequences of Artifical Intelligence, ‘Wale’ a heart-wrenching story of a young teenage boy being framed for the murder, ‘Be Uncertain’ a confusing (especially for Ms McGuirk!) tale of a reincarnated man warning himself from the future, ‘Ovum’ a tale of a fisherman and a mermaid, and finally ‘CC’, another film about how an AI can be dangerous if not programmed correctly, but also asking the big question as to whether or not some jobs, even motherhood, could be better performed by AI.
To finish our day, we watched a few short dramas, before being quietly ushered out by Ms McGuirk so we could get to our coach on time, and after a brilliant day of watching such a wide range of compelling and thought provoking films, I think everyone was suitably tired and ready to return home.
By Emma H, 11LST