I started a mag on a credit card, now I’m mak­ing a film fes­ti­val

Risky ven­tures don’t scare Cherie Fed­erico. Now she tells Sarah Free­man why her new film fes­ti­val could prove a reel suc­cess.

Yorkshire Post - Culture & The Guide - - FILM -

CHERIE Fed­erico isn’t afraid of tak­ing risks.

In 2007, the New Yorker who had moved to Eng­land to study at York St John Univer­sity de­cided to launch a mag­a­zine. On a credit card.

Launch­ing any new pub­li­ca­tion is dif­fi­cult and ex­pen­sive and Cherie’s plans for a qual­ity arts jour­nal, while un­doubt­edly wor­thy seemed like an am­bi­tious punt.

How­ever, Aes­thet­ica was born and eight years on, the qual­ity glossy mag­a­zine doesn’t look out of place on the shelves of WH Smith and with a monthly au­di­ence of 100,000 it is sold across Ger­many, Scan­di­navia and one out­let in Brazil.

“It looks a lot dif­fer­ent to how it did in the be­gin­ning, but the con­tent is largely the same,” she says. “There’s a ten­dency to think of the arts as be­ing the pre­serve of some elite mi­nor­ity, but I just don’t think that’s true.

“How many peo­ple go to Tate Modern each year? How many peo­ple have al­ready vis­ited the new Hep­worth Wake­field? There’s a lot of peo­ple out there who are in­ter­ested in the arts and I hope the suc­cess of the mag­a­zine proves that.”

Cherie is now hop­ing his­tory will re­peat it­self with the launch of the Aes­thet­ica Short Film Fes­ti­val. The idea came out of a com­pe­ti­tion they ran last year to un­earth new film­mak­ing tal­ent.

The win­ners and run­ner­sup en­tries were fea­tured on a DVD, but Cherie couldn’t help feel­ing that they were miss­ing a trick.

“I’d watched so many great short films and it didn’t sit well with me that we were only able to show a hand­ful to the pub­lic,” she says. “I walked into the Aes­thet­ica of­fices and said, ‘You know what, we are go­ing to launch a film fes­ti­val’. It seemed to make per­fect sense. Leeds has one, so does Brad­ford and Hull, but it wasn’t some­thing that York had ever done.”

That was last year and next week the Aes­thet­ica Short Film Fes­ti­val will open.

Run­ning over four days, 175 films from 30 coun­tries will be screened across the city from the Man­sion House to Bar­ley Hall. “York is blessed with some great build­ings and I thought it was such a won­der­ful idea to take these spa­ces as a back­drop for con­tem­po­rary films,” says Cherie, who has also man­aged to se­cure the likes of Academy Award nom­i­nee Mark Her­man ( Boy in the Striped Py­ja­mas, Brassed Off) to take part in a se­ries of in­dus­try dis­cus­sions at the fes­ti­val, which she hopes will be an an­nual event.

“This is a fes­ti­val of film,” she says. “But I also wanted it to be a plat­form for those just start­ing out to get a real in­sight into the in­dus­try and meet those who have been there and done it.

“It’s a cel­e­bra­tion of film and hope­fully a show­case of the young tal­ent out there.”

SHOWREEL: An im­age from Else­where, one of the many short films fea­tur­ing in the Aes­thet­ica Short Film Fes­ti­val in York.

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