This was my 1st stop-motion animation festival. And certainly not my last.
There is a lot to say about these 4 days. StopTrik is not the biggest festival out there, however it engulfs a unique charm and a captivating atmosphere. But the most important for me is the story behind.
Olga Bobrowska, co-director of the festival, was explaining to me how everything started more or less 6 years ago and I was impressed to discover the great development of the festival which is getting bigger and bigger every year. The 1st edition was done with minimum municipality funds but it was more than enough for Olga and her husband Michał as well as for the rest of the involved team to realize that this was something they really wanted to invest in the future. If I could say something about this festival, it would definitely be the passion, zest and knowledge of its main contributors. These are ingredients that always make a good recipe for a successful and fully absorbing content.
This year’s subject and area of focus was Latin America, which made me wonder what this could possibly mean for the development of the festival. But all my questions were answered as we were going through the days, the presentations, the films and the discussions with the makers. What I cherished from this intercultural patchwork were thoughts mostly dealing with the "language" of stop-motion animation. What I mean by language in this case are the common influences, background, context, techniques and how or if we can trace similarities between these two distinct geographical regions (Europe/Central-South America), which manipulate the same film techniques. Surprisingly, this common language talked loud and clear to me, a language that can be transformative, distinct, unique and complementary at the same time, irrespective of the distance.
What I also noticed was that fundamental issues such as culture, society, politics, history and religion will always concern the artists and will always be filtered in their works. But the surprising touch this time was the enormous variety of techniques and methods that can be used and manipulated to achieve this purpose. Stop-motion animators really know how to do that. During TrikShow, the technical part of the festival, we all had the chance to follow the makers into the creative process behind their presented works. Sometimes I tend to forget how much time, effort, patience, creativity, imagination and passion it takes to have a final film, varying from 2 to 15 minutes more or less. But it seems to me that despite the difficulties, the disappointments and the frustration that might occur in some stages of the creative process, no one can deny the excitement, relief, and pride of the artists when they see their works being presented to an audience that seems to appreciate and enjoy their art.
So, it is also time for us, the spectators, the enthusiasts, the curious and excited to go out there and support inspiring and promising cultural movements like StopTrik, as this is the only way to keep this common language alive and to create a fertile ground for evolving and improving it.