Everything you can look forward to at this year’s Fest Anča

This summer, Fest Anča International Animation Festival will bring a selection of the best and most compelling Slovak and international animation, but with a twist: Fest Anča’s 14th festival edition will be primarily online. Although the festival will open its gates to a limited number of live viewers in Žilina, it will offer its full film programme primarily online. So viewers can watch it via their computers for the first time in the festival’s history. Fest Anča 2021 will take place from 1 to 4 July, and the films will be available for streaming up until Sunday 11 June. This year’s edition features a solid programme combining animation with other art forms, quality dramaturgy, and stellar jury members. 

Fest Anča online and offline

Because the situation around the pandemic in Žilina has improved after a long time and the restrictions will be loosened in the whole region, starting 7 July, we can allow a limited number of viewers to some live screenings and the accompanying programme in Žilina on 1-4 July,” explains Ivana Sujová, festival director.

Stricter rules will apply and capacity will be very limited. All of the festival’s screening rooms have a maximum capacity of 30 seats, in accordance with the COVID alert system for cultural events.

This year, festival passes for the live version will not be sold and pre-booked seats for the event will be unavailable. “We see the opening of Fest Anča’s live version as a bonus for people who would make a spontaneous trip to Žilina or live there and want to stop by and see some of the programme. For viewers who want to make sure they can watch Fest Anča’s film programme comfortably, we recommend Fest Anča’s online format where the films can conveniently be watched for a longer time this year,” Ivana says.

Visitors can only buy single admission tickets to screenings and concerts in Žilina until maximum capacity has been reached. Pre-sale of online festival passes starts in mid-June. Online tickets and live tickets are not interchangeable.

Non-traditional traditional programme

This year’s theme is “Traditions” and is particularly of interest in today’s context. “The theme is part of the intense socio-political debate today, but we feel the need to look at it broadly: through the prism of looking for home, one’s own identity, the prism of building relationships in the family and beyond, but also to examine what previous generations left us with – environmentally, in terms of behavioural patterns, and even, biology,” says Jakub Spevák, Fest Anča’s dramaturge and this year’s Focus curator.

The Focus comprises six subsections of Slovak and international animated shorts with diverse approaches to the theme. Subsections include East or West, Home is the Best; As You Sow, So You Shall Reap; and A Leopard Can’t Change Its Spots.

The theme corresponds to the visuals made by graphic designer Marek Menke. He uses motifs of Slovak TV bedtime stories Maťo and Klinček & Puf and Muf, considered the golden standard of Slovak animation. With the help of LITA, Society of Authors, rights for using the characters in the festival’s visuals have been granted and the copyright holders’ agreement has been obtained.

In collaboration with Radio and Television Slovakia, TV bedtime stories will form part of the programme, featuring overviews of the most impressive ones since the 1960s and selections for kids and adults. These sections are the only part of Fest Anča’s film programme not available online.

Kubal and Felvidék

Traditions are also reflected in 14th Fest Anča’s feature films selection. The animated documentary Felvidek: Caught in Between (2014), directed by Vladislava Plančíková, is a personal testimony about family, a search for roots, and an exploration of Slovak-Hungarian relations.

The second feature-length film of Fest Anča 2021 will be The Wolf House (2018) by Chilean creative duo, Joaquín Cociña and Cristóbal León. It revolves around a girl who has escaped from a sect and seeks refuge from her past. They chose a fairy tale-like aesthetic to narrate a brutal and not-so-distant chapter in Chile’s history: Colony Dignidad (Dignity), for decades run by former Nazi Paul Schäfer under Pinochet’s ‘protecting hand’. The film won the Caligari Award at the Berlinale.

Wolf House (2018)

The programme’s last feature will be Viktor Kubal’s legendary The Bloody Lady (1980).The film’s screening will feature live musical accompaniment by instrumental duo Ranjevš & Óbasz, deriving from the jazz tradition with an avant-garde twist. The Bloody Lady is the second feature-length film of one of the founders of Slovak animation. It draws inspiration from the historical legend of the cruel, Bloody Lady of Čachtice castle – Elizabeth Bathory. The film has minimalist animation and is dialogue-free.

Jury members: Young stars of global animation

Apart from the thematic focus, Fest Anča will offer a selection of films divided into competitive and non-competitive sections. Of 1244 submissions from almost 70 countries, 243 were selected. Student films comprise an impressive third of the main competitive section, in a year when schools have mostly remained closed. A record 40 Slovak films were submitted to the festival.

This year’s jury members are making this festival edition special. One of the virtual members of the main jury is French animator Osman Cerfon, the winner of the Anča Award 2020 with I’m Going Out For Cigarettes, one of the most awarded films in last year’s selection. He will be joined by Estonian animator and director of the Animist Tallinn International Animation Festival, Mari Kivi, as well as Joaquín Cociña, co-author of the film The Wolf House – whose second co-author, Cristóbal León, participates in the Slovak jury.

Osman Cerfon

Other jury members are Martin Smatana –  the animator who won the Anča Slovak Award 2019, Katarzyna Gromadzka – representative of the partner Polish Animarkt forum, Thịnh Nguyễn – another author of an awarded film (Anča Student Award 2020 for Tom Has a Plant), and Jair Salvador Flores Alvarez alias Kropka – scriptwriter and contributor to the renowned independent animation portal Zippy Frames.

Diverse online accompanying programme

Fest Anča 2021 will be streamed via the Spanish online streaming platform Festhome.com, although viewers can access the complete film programme from good ol’ www.festanca.sk too. The film programme will be accessible only to online festival pass and single admission ticket holders. Part of the programme from Žilina will be streamed on Facebook – and freely accessible.

Concerts by Edúv Syn, Nina Pixel, Fokular, and Dominik Suchý as well as discussions will be streamed for free. German animator and musician Adi Gelbart will come from Berlin and headline Fest Anča’s musical programme with his special set in Žilina.

Adi Gelbart

The whole festival programme will “premiere” during the originally intended date in the first days of July, but due to the different nature of viewers’ experience this year, organisers are keeping the online programme open for another week.

We get that watching from home for the live festival’s real length at Stanica-Záriečie and New Synagogue might even put dedicated couch potatoes off. So we’re making the films and most of the accompanying programme available online up to 11 July – a week after the event. But concerts will only be available online for 24 hours after,” explains Ivana.

Fest Anča 2021 will also have a kids’ programme. It will also be available online for discounted online kids’ ticket holders. Plus the festival will feature a conference Industry section for local animation professionals.

About Fest Anča

Fest Anča International Animation Festival is unique in being the only Slovak multimedia festival focused on animated film targeted mainly at a mature audience. Each year, it is held at Žilina’s New Synagogue and Stanica Žilina-Záriečie cultural hub. The festival presents contemporary progressive animated films and classic gems of the genre and aims to raise awareness about animated film as an autonomous art form, and to educate about multiple types and aspects of animation. The festival includes an international competition of animated short films, music videos, thematic and focused screening sections. Four days of Fest Anča include presentations, film screenings for children and many more accompanying events.

Fest Anča International Animation Festival 2021 is financially supported by the Slovak Audiovisual Fund and LITA Fund. Traditions, Fest Anča’s 2021 thematic focus is an implementation of the Student Forum Fest Anča. 

The Student Forum Fest Anča benefits from a € 120 609 grant from Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway through the EEA Grants. The project has been co-financed from the State Budget of the Slovak Republic in the amount of € 18 091. The aim of the project is better approaches towards training in animation and multicultural European cooperation.