Fest Anča — the International Animation Festival of Žilina, Slovakia — will be rolling out the red carpet for animation auteurs Stephen and Timothy Quay when the ninth edition takes place June 29 through July 3. The twin London-based filmmakers were born in Pennsylvania and have enjoyed a much celebrated 30-year career, becoming widely recognized for their distinct, haunting style. The Quays were recently the subject of a documentary by Christopher Nolan, The Quay Brothers – On 35mm. The festival will present a selection of their work, including The Cabinet of Jan Švankmajer, Street of Crocodiles, Mask, In Absentia, and others.
“The Quay thumbprint is unmistakable, whether in their own work or in commissioned projects, such as their short animated sequence in the feature film Frida, which, instead of doctors, features stylized skeletons,” says Maroš Brojo, the festival’s program director. “The unique flair for animation also comes through in their book illustrations, music video production and dance movies, as well as set designs for opera, theatre performances and concerts. Stephen and Timothy Quay will join Fest Anča and share stories from the beginnings of a career that has been so notably distinct from other artists’ as well as the trends of contemporary animation.”
Fest Anča will also welcome Canadian filmmaker Steven Woloshen, a master of the direct drawn-on-film animation technique. Attendees will be able to watch him at work — and try out his methods for themselves — during his “Scratchatopia” workshop. Woloshen will also delve into many more aspects of cameraless animation during his masterclass.
This year’s festival also offers a focus on Balkan animation, screening the latest films from regional creators as well as several pieces that have great historical resonance for animation in Balkan countries. Among the esteemed guests will be Vanja Andrijevic from Croatia’s most successful studio, Bonobostudio. Audiences can enjoy the best work by Serbian, Slovenian, Croatian, Romanian and even Greek producers — and pay a visit to the year 3084 in the first Romanian sci-fi feature, Delta Space Mission, directed by Mircea Toia and Călin Cazan.
In addition to the competition tracks, the festival has planned thematic sections such as World Panorama, Entities and Webseries. A popular item on the agenda is Midnight Screenings, featuring horror and extremely bizarre X-rated flicks. The late night program will also include screenings from the Extremely Short Section of Extremely Short Films, Contemporary Abstract Animation, as well as films for “truly resilient viewers” in the Anča in Mordor section. The midnight screenings will also feature surreal films and gifs by British artist Cyriak Harris.
Young viewers can also enjoy a dedicated program. They can even vote for their favorites in the International Competition of Films for Children, and watch kid-friendly selections from TV and film archives. Kids can also enjoy a workshop and use their practical skills by crafting pinhole cameras out of everyday objects. One of Fest Anča’s partners, TV in the City, will screen several feature animated family films open-air at Andrej Hlinka Square in Žilina.
And finally, Fest Anča Game Days at the New Synagogue is welcoming guests like the producers of the Serious Sam series, creators of the highly acclaimed puzzle game Talos Principle, Amanita Design developers and their latest adventure game Samorost 3, as well as representatives of the successful Platige Image animation studio. Gamers can also try the newest virtual reality gadgets such as Oculus Rift and HTC Vive headsets.