⏰ Sjón 2020 becomes Sjón 2021

This year has been strange, to say the least.

Tragic and transformative, yes. But also illuminating about all the connections between our actions and their consequences on the world (both human and not).

As anthropologists, we have been observing the dramatic changes around the world. As festival organisers, we’ve been waiting and holding our breath, as all major festival events around the world were cancelled, postponed or turned digital.

With all the uncertainties of the moment, we have made the humbling decision to postpone our 2020 event (originally planned for November) to Spring 2021. We are still in the process of finalising details with our venues and partners, so the exact dates for the event will be announced as soon as possible.

Why not make a digital Sjón 2020?

While we are all big fans of binge-watching online, we believe our events are more than simple screening spaces. We strive to make our festival as interactive, participatory and multi-sensorial as possible. We screen ethnographic films, but we also host workshops and performances and collective dinners. We hug our guests and chat with filmmakers and audiences over coffee, and we devote a lot of energy to creating a welcoming, hyggelig atmosphere.

We hope that by Spring 2021, we’ll be able to welcome all our guests physically—if not with a hug, than at least with a warm, in-person smile, unfiltered by pixels or bad wifi connections.

What does this mean for filmmakers and other researchers, artists and participants interested in collaborating with us?

▶︎ All the films submitted so far to our 2020 edition are still in consideration for this event (now postponed to 2021).
▶︎ We have re-opened our open call for submissions on FilmFreeway. We are eager to hear from more under-represented voices before we make our final selection for 2021.
▶︎ We have added a thematic category for our submissions, for films produced under and on the topic of the Covid19 pandemic.
▶︎ Non-filmmaker collaborators can continue to reach out to us with proposals on our email.
▶︎ No Official Selection has been made. The Official Selection will, of course, be decided later this year.

Solastalgia becomes more relevant than ever

We choose the themes for our festival edition based on the interests of the organising teams, as well as contemporary relevance. Solastalgia was always going to be more topical than most themes (with the increasingly tangible consequences of climate change), but we never could have suspected how much more relevant it would become in 2020.

“The distress that is produced by environmental change impacting on people while they are directly connected to their home environment” has taken a sharper, more visceral meaning in the months of scarcity and anxiety that seem to have characterised the first half of 2020. While we were initially asking questions about the changes in our physical environments, we believe that our psychological and social environments have become as pertinent. The distinctions between physical and subjective space have always been blurry, but especially so during a time of severely limited physical movement.

Therefore, by postponing our Solastalgia edition, we hope to expand it into a bigger conversation about environmental and societal changes.

We thank you for sticking around patiently and hope to see you all, safe and sound, very soon!