Hot Docs, EFP Offer Peek at ‘Changing Face of Europe’

European Film Promotion, a body that seeks to raise the profile of the continent’s movies, has teamed up with Toronto documentary film festival Hot Docs to launch a new program. “The Changing Face of Europe” presents 10 recent European documentary features, selected by the festival from 36 films submitted by EFP’s member organizations.

The initiative aims to promote “a better understanding and insight into the rapidly evolving processes affecting Europe today,” EFP said. The lineup at Hot Docs, which runs April 26-May 6, includes one world premiere, two international premieres and four North American premieres. The documentaries, which will be introduced by their filmmakers, will touch on a wide range of topics.

Clément Cogitore’s “Braguino” shows the clash between traditional values and a freewheeling outlook among a community living in the vast expanse of the Siberian Taiga. In “Global Family,” Melanie Andernach and Andreas Köhler follow a family scattered around the globe following their flight from war-torn Somalia. Heike Bachelier and Andy Heathcote show in “Of Fish and Foe” how traditional salmon fishermen on the Scottish coast have to fight to make a living.

“Rodeo” covers the election in Estonia, which brought to power Europe’s youngest Prime Minister, Mart Laar, and the conflict between idealists and a rising economic elite. The effects of war, especially on children, are reflected in “The Distant Barking of Dogs” by Simon Lereng Wilmont, documenting the life of 10-year-old Oleg in the Eastern part of Ukraine.

“The Russian Job” by Petr Horký centers on a run-down Czech automobile factory, once the pride of the former Soviet Union, which takes on an experienced Swedish manager to return it to prosperity without wanting to commit to changes. “The White World According to Daliborek” by Vít Klusák, a stylized portrait of a Czech Neo-Nazi, gives an insight the lives of ordinary people with extremist views. On a lighter note, Diego Pascal Panarello’s “The Strange Sound of Happiness” shows how the director’s dream of becoming a musician turns to dust until an ancient musical instrument, the mouth harp, points him in a new direction.

Two films center round personal stories to “talk about cultural identity and new concepts of life.” “When Pigs Come” by Biljana Tutorov follows upbeat Serbian grandmother Dragoslava in her daily life. Over the years she has lived in five countries without ever moving from her apartment in a small border town. In “To Want, to Need, to Love” by Ilir Hasanaj, a recently separated couple tries to find a way to still work and live together by joining a performance art project travelling through Europe.

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