It was a cold, dark January evening at the café of the Slovenian Cinematheque. The FeKK team was having their probably first 2020 meeting, joking unabashedly, and among other decisions hitting on the unpremeditated idea about the theme of this edition. “It should be katastrofekk,” we exclaimed and joyfully savoured the proposal deep into the early morning. To round it up, we continued that “the image should feature an apocalyptic film strip tsunami inspired by Hokusai’s famous painting The Great Wave off Kanagawa.” When we later lay our heads down, still with a victorious smile on our faces, our dreams carried no premonition about what our cute wordplay would bring to the city and the world in the next months.
There is probably no extensive explanation needed as to why the word has seemingly become flesh. In the following months “KatastroFeKK” became a self-fulfilling prophecy, the world slid into one of its most uncertain times, Slovenia successfully kept the pace with any dark and absurd escalations, and the future became something nobody dared to think about. Which, if you are an organiser of a film festival in Slovenia, is not that unordinary. Thus, when we gazed at our visual identity with its overused motto “The End is Near” and opened the call for submissions, we somehow felt quite at home.
It seems everything points to the end of the world as we know it. The end to our anticipation of the new festival edition is near. The end is also always near when watching short films. The end, and this might offer some solace, inescapably implies a new beginning (had not the global epidemiologic, climate, economic, and political crisis unexpectedly expanded and just begun to accelerate ambitiously). Since we are debating the end, we should also mention that the sixth edition concludes FeKK’s first stable three-year financial plan granted by the Slovenian Film Centre. Looking at the stormy skies above, one wonders if thunder and lightning are only just preparing to roll in.
Still, the ponderings on end produced a novelty, specially curated section of contemporary short experimental classics by globally known filmmakers. We called it The End is Near: Let’s Contemplate and it nicely sums up certain fundaments. Of course, the current mammoth theme left its footprints in other programmes, too. For example, the Evolution of Catastrophe, selected in cooperation with the Slovene Film Archives, deals with the evolution of catastrophe. It brings us classic film projections on film print that are also facing their early end without systematic national digitalisation and restoration. This year’s Homage, dedicated to the giant of the contemporary arthouse cinema Ruben Östlund, humorously and deliciously deals with small and intimate catastrophes. Furthermore, the audience is going to encounter similar themes in the East of Eden programme and its gems from the (far)eastern production, and in Square Eyes Presents with its crème de la crème, thus presenting the distribution that offers the most noticeable shorts that are shown at the greatest film festivals.
The premonition of the end or at least of the highly uncertain future is something many Slovene filmmakers can relate to. Financing is decapitated, while the ministry is cloaked in silence. All the more reason for the Instant Kult section to salute Ema Kugler, one of the most outstanding Slovene directors. She is currently facing eviction from her workspace at Slovenian Railways, where she has worked in almost apocalyptic conditions for nearly a decade. Her mythical worlds, trips through the subconscious, and her bending of the film have been in itself a rebellious act since the 1990s and they still open the crack of the possible in these impossible conditions.
We will be able to glimpse the far future of the deep, dark, and post-apocalyptic space in the turbo neon sci-fi Blood Machines presented in association with the Kurja Polt Festival. Additionally, two more festivals are going to join our caravan – the Lago Film Fest from the nearby Veneto region with its programme and the Polish Short Waves Festival inside the ProFeKK, a programme for film professionals.
To sum up, the FeKK Festival is back, even if, unfortunately, slightly shorter. The 2020 programme is yet another high-five, so we are already quietly (and, we hope, not unrealistically) planning the foundations for a new three-year plan. Oh, and a positive motto – if all the nonsense has to come true. (Although there is already this “Sizyfekk” rolling boulders through our minds…)
Matevž Jerman, Peter Cerovšek