If there is one thing that I learned in my first year of visiting festivals as a film critic it is that every film festival is a world of its own. Therefore to visit some festival for the first time always brings with it a lot of scepticism. How will it compare to the experiences I had on other festivals and I am afraid of how will I as an individual find myself in this festival/world. StopTrik has succeeded just in four days to take a position of a festival that I can call home.
It is really a new and different experience to be at a festival where the director meets and greets the guests in person. It was an absolutely shocking experience, for me. Also that film presenters (directors, producers etc.) were opened for interaction with the guests, as much during the official festival discussions as afterwards in the festival space. Maybe the highlight of this interaction could be best described by a case of Podlasie Attacks crew which ended their presentation by serving the festival guests with their traditional local drinks from the Podlasie region.
Another really great moment for me was a discussion I had with the presenter of a Latin American Animation Culture, where we somehow always started talking about animation, then went to film in general and then we ended up talking about different philosophies of life.
Maybe the best proof that this was not just a lucky coincidence, that I met these people was the festival programme. This year StopTrik has somewhere around 150 films from all around the world and there was at least twice as much diversity when it came to the festival guests.
In the wide range of film there were some first animation works as well as works of fully established authors, and they ranged from conventional to extremely experimental. If I really had to chose three films that I really liked I think they would be: “Ježeva kućica” (Eva Cvijanović), Frog Song (Violaine Pasquet) and animation from Koyaa series (Koja Saksida).
An important thing to mention is that a few months ago a last art house cinema (Cinema Udarnik) closed its doors thanks to the city council that didn't have enough interest in promoting the culture. Even without “real cinema” organisers of the StopTrik did an amazing job of making this festival happen in alternative artistic places such as gallery GT22, Pekarna, Salon of Applied Arts etc. In Maribor art is stronger than politics, it is speaking its own language understandable to anyone with a free spirit, it is removing barriers and building love as a liberal lifestyle, StopTrik festival is definitely the best place to experience all this firsthand, or at least I did, and now I call this city my new home.
PS: One more thing for parents that want to watch some animated films and not to be bothered by their children, StopTrik festival thought about you, so as a part of festival they offered to babysit your children while you enjoy your “cartoons”.