She’s the most awesome person we ever met, loves wine and animation. A great writer, a role model for many women t: and a professional journalist for many years. But for us, at Anibar, she remains our lovely and amazing grandmother. Why? We love to share it with you. Read the interview of Anibar Press with the journalist from Belgium, Nancy Denney-Phelps famously known as the grandmother of Anibar. She won our hearts, we believe she will win yours as well.
Anibar Press: This is the third year at Anibar for you, and you are already part of the family. What makes this Festival special for you?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: So, I think this festival is so important because it is an example about how three people visions can change a community. And I think what is really happening here is not easy but Vullnet [Sanaja] said, “I’m going to stay in my town and I am going to make something positive here”. He has made a big impact in the community, and I’ve seen it every year since I have been here. I watched the festival grow to what it has become now, something that isn’t just a festival bringing strangers to this town, opening a cinema it’s a very big step, bringing cinema culture to this town that had no cinema.
Anibar Press: Do u see any difference from the first edition you were here and now?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: Yes! Well of course opening the cinema is very big thing and I remember the first year I was here, people didn’t have the cinema culture because they didn’t go to the cinema this one was broken at sixties and there was no more cinema and they were used to watching films sitting on their couches, sending emails, yelling at their friends and now there is a working cinema here and it functions. The biggest change I have seen is in the young people, they would say to me ”I can hardly wait to get out of here,” I know there are still a lot of people who want to leave which I understand but I am running into more young people who have become inspired by what is being done and they are saying yes, I can stay here and I can change my dream and this is a perfect example of
a festival changing the community for the good.
Anibar Press: We heard that you go to every animation festival?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: Yeah
Anibar Press: Why?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: Well I am a journalist and I can’t write about what I don’t see, I love animation and the animation community is my family. I mean I love to watch films more than anything. I can see a film sometimes ten or twelve times but every time if it’s a good film I see something new.
Anibar Press: Can u tell what are the difference between other festivals and ANIBAR?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: Every festival has its own character and every festival is different but
the thing I see here is they really care about their guests and they take such good care of us and they are very personal about it. Other festivals you go there is nine thousand animators none can be personal to you when there is nine thousand animators you know you go to the large festivals and of course they are nice but they can’t give your personal treatment. I feel like if you ever needed anything which I never do but all I need to do is ask and I love it. I stay at a hotel which I absolutely love. The first time I came they put me at a fancy hotel and I said this is very nice. I stay on all these hotels all over the world and then they put me up on the hotel and I walk in and the owner gives me a hug and says “oh you are back, you know what let me get you a cold beer.” I love this personal touch and now I am at the point when I go into a shop and the people there say “oh hello you’re back” so I thank you very much, I feel very at home here and very welcomed and a smaller festival like this can make you feel like you have personal
attention. From the meals they serve to us to the ambient of the screening room at the lake and there are little boats in which you can sit on the water and watch films I have never been to another festival that does that.
You came very often to Kosovo; can u tell us your experience and your impressions about Kosovo?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: Yeah because I travel so much and I have been into so many places and of course every time is nice to tourist because I don’t want to spend your money but I find it because people in general are nice is not like they are expecting me to spend money but generally nice, like last night I got tired of standing on the wet basketball court because I only wanted to do that I know what Daniel does and I love it, so I went back at my hotel and they were having a private party downstairs with Albanian musician and they invited me in. It was interesting because it was all men except for me. And they put me up in this couch and they brought me wine and I got to hear Albanian music. It was a real treat and I enjoyed the Albanian music, but this was more like folk traditional music. And it was just that nice little kindness, so they would say: “Oh, come in, you are welcome, please.”
Anibar Press: You probably know that the theme for this year at ANIBAR is hope and fears, can you share with us your hopes and fears?
Nancy Denney-Phelps: Hahaha, I’ll do it in two levels, I’ll do it in Kosovo level and the world level and that’s all. My hope for ANIBAR is that it would continue to grow in the positive direction that it’s going without growing too big, and I think right now it’s the perfect status. Hmmm… I do not have any fears for the festival, I think they are on the right direction, they know what they are doing, and they understand that. Not sure I have any hopes. I am extremely honored to be the grandmother of this festival, everyone can have grandchildren, but I have a grand festival and it’s such a privilege to me.