This year’s competition programme of FeKK SLO reveals that two currents run parallel through contemporary Slovene short films.

One current is that of the institutionally supported films (by SFC, RTV, film academies, etc.), mostly fiction dramas by younger filmmakers, which won acclaim at past prominent international festivals (The Flood in the Clermont-Ferrand competition programme, Nobody Told Me I Have to Love You and The Right One at Cannes, Playing at San Sebastian, and so on). They focus on the narrative, intimate stories, and insight into emotional states of their protagonists. Still, if they are linked by this involvement in the individual, they refreshingly differ in the various superb visions of direction. The 2020 assortment of professionally produced shorts proves that Slovene short films closely follow the international film standards and that the accolades they have received are rather a norm than an exception.

But there runs also a powerful underground current under the institutional, full of surprising and exciting independent breakthroughs and experimental manifestations. These are advancing into the forefront and represent a fast-developing practice in the Slovene film landscape. Slovenia has already had a long tradition of experimental cinema, yet the affinity towards this (until recently rather peripheral) genre now increases with a group of younger filmmakers. It appears that these films are being created out of the sheer necessity of creation, irrespective of production conditions. Their authors are the veterans of the experimental films and videos as well as those often creating inside the fiction field. We were delighted to see the motivation and the tendency towards experimentation already at the last FeKK since we believe that such films test the conventional boundaries and expand the understanding of the looseness of film genres and definitions, and also of a film as an art form. The sixth edition of FeKK received 140 short films by Slovene filmmakers or production studios – a number both surprising and inspiring if we consider the financially malnourished (short) film scene. We accepted 27 films which all demonstrate the authors’ vision and their ability to carry it through.

In addition, the numerous exquisite films adorned this year’s FeKK SLO with a special feature, an accompanying section called FeKK SLO: Second Wave. This includes noticeable films which in the past editions might got into the competition programme. This year, however, the list was already full due to the filmmakers’ growing interest to sign up their contributions. The films in question are special, so neither they nor their filmmakers should be overlooked. Despite occasional sways in certain segments, they express boldness, intensity, urge for experimentation and radicalisation of their onsets that we definitely wish to see.

If last year’s FeKK SLO was marked by experimental cinema, this year the narratives strike back. Yet, in the end, what matters is the balance between the institutional and the independent, experimental and the narrative, representational and antirepresentational tendencies. FeKK SLO 2020 lies precisely in the crevice of such creative antagonism. 

Matevž Jerman, Robert Kuret