It is August already and it has been almost a year since, in September 2018, I was writing an article full of enthusiasm about the fact that I launched a Romanian bid for the 2021 Eurocon. Full of optimism, I was animated by the desire to to do things differently, better perhaps. With new principles and methods of organization in mind, I hope to bring something distinct to the custom of SF events that take place in Romania, that I will be able to shape things in accordance with my vision. Now, after a shaky few months, the principles and much of the team with which we started have remained, but an essential element has changed: the offer to organize the Eurocon in 2021 is endorsed up by the Association for Complementary Education (APEC) and will take place in Dumbrăvița, a commune located near Timișoara.

What is APEC?

The two pieces of information above might come as a surprise, depending on how closely you followed the Distopicon project. These were necessary changes, which brought the desired stability and increased the chances of winning the Eurocon bid, at the vote to be held in Belfast at the Titancon/Eurocon.

APEC is an NGO founded by me, together with my wife Simona and a few friends, which has been involved in educational projects for adolescents and young adults for more than 10 years. The main program he has developed is called ADVANTAJ LA START, through which supplementary education materials were distributed free of charge in primary and high schools in Romania. Also within this project, for two years, APEC had a collaboration with the National Prison Administration. Our DVDs arrived in all prisons in Romania. In addition, events took place in schools in Timișoara and in the country, most of them dedicated to students and teachers. It’s one of my passion projects, of which I’m proud.

Currently, ADVANTAJ LA START has been transformed into a financial mentoring project, free of charge for young people between the ages of 16 and 23 (see advantajlastart.net). In the last four years, hundreds of young people have graduated the 13 weeks long online course.

Why Dumbrăvița?

Dumbrăvița is a town that continues the northern part of Timișoara. It is one of the richest communes in Romania. APEC is based in Dumbrăvița and runs educational programs for young people through Simona. The biggest event of APEC in Dumbrăvița is “Concordia Familiae”, a festival dedicated to parents. The first edition which will take place on October 12, 2019.

Due to the good collaboration during the past years, Dumbrăvița City Hall signed a protocol with APEC to organize both the parents’ festival and “The Galactic Imaginarium”, an annual Science Fiction and Fantasy film festival, whose first edition will take place in 23 -May 24, 2020. With the signing of the protocol, the City Hall is committed to supporting and organizing, in 2021, the European Convention of Science Fiction, Dystopicon, in case the offer of Romania will be accepted (to the detriment of the offer of Italy).

On this occasion I must mention the openess that the Dumbravița City Hall had to be a strategic partner in organizing these events. Our thanks will have to be doubled by providing quality events.

Distopicon partners

From the beginning I must mention again the strategic partnership that the City Hall and the Local Council of Dumbrăviță provides. Without it, the event would have been extremely difficult to achieve.

As time went by, I sought to strengthen partnerships with different organizations to support the event. For the program area I am honored to mention two organizations from Timișoara, which are at the forefront of world scientific research:

  • Arca Space, a company that develops judicious solutions to the problem of space propulsion
  • Symme3D, a group of companies working in the field of 3D printers

I thank Mr. Dumitru Popescu, of Arca Space, and Călin Brandabur, of Symme3D, who showed their willingness to support the Eurocon project in Dumbrăvița and who assured me that they will contribute with conferences within the program and with an exhibition area in which to present the latest research projects from withing their companies.

We also have a partnership with the Romanian Association of Cultural Astronomy, providing high performance telescopes for stargazing, to conduct public conferences and a mini exhibition.

Backers

I must say that the first organisation that supported the Distopicon project was, naturally, the Helion Online magazine. It was here that the first article was published in September 2018, joined by other references and ads that linked to the Distopicon website.

Another very important support was that of the Europa SF portal, which presented from the very beginning our offer to organize the Eurocon.

The article in the fanzine Counterclock, number 36, presented Distopicon and argued for our bid. Although not a media partner, I wanted to mention this.

A special category are the SF organizations in Romania. At the beginning we sent two official invitations, to the two representative national organizations of Romanian SF: ARCA SF and SRSFF. So far, we have received an official response from SRSFF, which has already sent a letter to the management of ESFS (the organization that sponsors the Eurocon), showing its support for our candidacy. This honors us and motivates us to continue the work to achieve a quality Eurocon.

Guests of Honor

Until now, we can officially announce the confirmation received from the following guests:

Zoran Zivkovic, university professor, writer, essayist, researcher and translator in the field of speculative literature and SF (Guest of honor) and Cristian Tamaș, translator, editor, essayist and promoter in the field of SF and Fantasy (special guest).

We will announce guests of honor and special guests as they confirm their participation.

The Venue

Distopicon will take place in Dumbrăvița, Timiș. Our chosen venue is the Culture House, with a main hall containing over 500 places and with a few satellite rooms. In the vicinity is the multipurpose room, which will function as an exhibition and event hall. As an additional, backup location, we consider the conference room at the Dumbrăvița’s “Business Incubator”.

It is worth mentioning that the City Hall has given its consent to set up a properly equiped, free camping area for participants.

Related events

During Distopicon two other events will take place:

  • SF and Fantasy film festival “The Galactic Imaginarium”, second edition;
  • The electronic music festival “Spacers”, the third edition, with the main organizers Adrian Chifu and Adrian Bancu, who thank them for agreeing to organize the third edition during Distopicon.

The team

An event of such magnitude as Distopicon can not be achieved through the effort of one person. I would not have started on the journey if there were not those wonderful friends that I gained when I became part of the Timisoara fandom.

  • Daniel Timariu, the soul of helionsf.ro magazine, who contributed through the design, maintenance and hosting of the Distopicon site but, above all, through tips and recommendations inspired by the detailed knowledge of the Romanian SF scene;
  • Cristi Vicol, this so inspired designer, who made the logo and poster of the event and who has repeatedly proven that he possesses an outstanding work ethic;
  • Nina Horvath and Wolf von Witters, whose experience in organizing and participating in European SF events was welcomed, both being advisors in organizing the event;
  • Simona Hupov, an event organizer with more than 10 years experience, who will be the coordinator of the reception area at Distopicon;
  • Lucian Vasile Szabo, who at the beginning of the project essentially contributed ideas and concepts, including the name of Distopicon, which belongs to him, along with Ciprian Baciu. We are still looking forward to his contribution as the “clear head” of the team
  • Ciprian Baciu, whose experience in regards to volunteer management will be crucial for the success of the event;
  • Marius Gordan, who has repeatedly proven that he is able to intervene with great success, when his expertise is in great need;
  • Adrian Bancu and Adrian Chifu, who had the courage to start an ambitious event such as Moonivers, and that will organize in 2021 the Spacers festival of electronic music, during Distopicon;
  • Cristian Koncz, whose maturity and long experience as a panel organizer at the Helion Session will bring stability to the core of Distopicon;
  • Cătălina Fometici and Bianca Sol, our colleagues, who offered to contribute wherever needed.

With them, those who are very close to me, I want to thank also:

  • Antuza Genescu, from the H.G. Wells literary club from Timișoara, who offered her personal support;
  • to Liviu Surugiu, who offered his unstoppable energy to help the organizing effort;
  • to Eugen Cadaru, who has shown support for our project, supporting it where others have hesitated to do so.

Special thanks also go to SRSFF colleagues:

  • Cristian Tamaș, whose support came from the first moments of the project’s launch and whose help is greatly appreciated;
  • Sorin Camner, one of the pillars of SRSFF, who wanted to personally send me the support of his organization for Dystopicon, within our offer from Belfast.

I thank all those who encouraged me, family and friends, who showed their willingness to become volunteers during the event.

I can say that I am a rich man because I have such people with me!

In the end…

This is things stand now, before presenting the Romanian offer in Belfast. We compete against Italy, which organizes Deepcon. Their team is led by Francesco Verso, writer and promoter of SF in Italy. I believe that they represent strong and worthy counter-candidate.

When and if Distopicon will be chosen as the Eurocon event of the year 2021, I invite the clubs, associations and SF fans from Romania to participate actively in this event, as we wish for it to be representative for the Romanian fandom.

The construction of the Distopicon offer was a team effort. Without the team’s contribution, I would not have even dared to start such an enterprise. It is precisely because of the open-mindedness and enthusiasm with which we have been welcomed that we decided in favour for this event to take place, whether or not we will win in Belfast. It’s a project that has grown beautifully and has great availability to grow.

I invite you to join the team or be a participant in Distopicon, in 2021!

For recent news visit distopicon.eu.

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