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Kropka writes about the 2021 edition of Fest Anča festival, which took place both onsite (Zilina, Slovakia) and online.

Fest Anča which takas place in Žilina Slovakia (this year: 1-4 July 2021), is the example of the spirit that permeates a large part of the independent animation industry: proactive, innovative, academic but always a rebellious spirit. I am not exaggerating if I say that Anča has - in my opinion- one of the best programs in the animated music video competition. The programs of the music animated competition is precisely what caught my attention since I started following this festival in the now distant year of 2011.

Fest Anča Best Animated Music Video: Matej Mihályi – Prezident Lourajder – Osud (Slovakia, 2021)  

Fest Anča is about a professional community dedicated to offering the best of independent animation in a horizontal way in which there are no differences between the directors, animators and other people from the industry with the audience, all are treated the same way, and they all mix without serious protocols.

For this hybrid edition, Anča offered us a magnificent selection in the main competitions; yet, what has highly attracted my attention the most, has been the cycle of Traditions. A set of programs with wonderful animations, some of them well known and others to be discovered, but all films carrying a strong message: lets go talk, but listening to each other, without shouting or prejudice.

These programs have been invaluable, not only for the quality of the films, the techniques, the structure and the stories, but also for the value as a whole concept, which is a great effort to resolve local and global identity issues. As well as individual and social identity conflicts. Something of which I am in favor and I believe that the majority of those who inhabit the world of independent animation too.

This year, the awards were distributed between France (Polka Dot), South Korea (Kangmin Kim - KKUM), Russia (Naked) Belgium (Ten, twenty, thirty, forty, fifty thousand a day), Slovakia (Osud), Canada (Garnet graves), Japan (Om Nom Nom...) and the Czech Republic (Sanctuary and Home sweet home). Countries with different traditions in animation, different history and different approaches to reality.

From my favorites films this year, without a doubt I can say that the winner 'Polka Dot Boy' by Sarina Nihei is one of them since it delves further into this personal universe of the author, where everything seems to have a meaning and sense, but at the same time the reality of the narrative fails. Some kind of David Lynch nap. In addition, it is always a delight to watch Sarina's style.

Another film that excited me was 'Alice'  by Aleksey Sukhov. It is one of those rare animation exercises that transcends its technique and its own structure by the strength of the story and its unthinkable ending. Fresh and brave.

The winners of this edition reflect very well that spirit of which I spoke. Films that tell us about improbable stories, about emotions that are difficult to define, about stories that are worth telling, risky techniques and narratives. Which is precisely what makes independent animation great. Anča has an extreme care in curating each year's program to offer the most independent and rebellious films.

I had the opportunity and honor to be part of the jury, together with Kasia Gromdazka and Thin Nguyễn, in the animated music videos section.

Fest Anča 2021 / Photo: Juraj Starovecky

It was a great experience, nevertheless it was online, but I truly hope that next year we can all be together in Žilina celebrating our own spirits together with the unmistakable spirit of Fest Anča in its 15th edition.

contributed by: Kropka

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