THE DAY AFTER: Fest Anča 2020 theme explores new beginnings

The Day After – we chose this theme for Fest Anča 2020’s focus months ago. The idea had come to us in the beginning of July 2019, just days after the 12th edition of the festival had ended. At that time, we could not have possibly imagined that the new coronavirus pandemic would strike precisely when this year’s theme was scheduled to be announced publicly (i.e. at the turn of February and March); that in the months to come, Fest Anča and all cultural events as well as other freedoms could no longer be taken for granted, and that the well-thought-out theme would have become part of our everyday lives even before it was publicly announced.

About nine months ago, we could only guess what the future would hold. Today, we are all slowly coming to terms with the fact that the future is already here. “After this crisis subsides” and “post-pandemic” are the most ‘popular’ contemporary phrases. The future predictions are now suddenly counted in months rather than years or decades. Who knows what will the world be like in the autumn or next year?

The Day After offers multiple interpretations. We are most interested in changes and new beginnings. We’ve been told a thousand times that change is the only constant in life. Yet when faced with change, society can paradoxically become incredibly obstinate: whilst it seems important to preserve the status quo since we understand and know the present, such an approach is now clearly unsustainable. There’s an unsolicited change afoot. So what will the day after the change bring?

“Crisis” is another word for change – a turning point at which our future direction is decided. Our generation’s default mode of being is to exist in a permanent state of a crisis, whether personal or societal – crisis of the system, ecological crisis, crisis stemming from our own doubts, crisis of an impending burnout, crisis of the changing nature of the relationships and lack of empathy with other human beings.

Yet just as it is darkest before dawn, crises are followed by new beginnings: in personal life or society, stimulating a rearrangement of our modus operandi and familiarity with a new order. At Fest Anča 2020, we seek to discuss the impacts of these changes.

Fest Anča’s 13th edition is also a new start for us as a team, our very own Day After. Last year posed multiple challenges, such as the burning down of S2 at Stanica Žilina-Záriečie. That screening room had been our main venue for many years, so we naturally had a strong emotional connection with that space. Those hard times highlighted the problems common for the whole cultural sector, including us: an unsustainable accumulation of tasks and responsibilities resulting in team members being overloaded, as well as chronic underfunding.

Against all the odds, Fest Anča 2019 was a great success – and we are confident that this year’s (delayed) event will also set a new standard. The Day After is our response to our collective past and present experience: an expectation that we aspire to further elaborate on with our visitors, guests and partners. As such, it’s both the embodiment of potential and a warning to stay alert. The Day After is solely in our hands.

Come and experience it with us on 27 – 30 August 2020 in Žilina.