European Film Promotion has unveiled the 10 European documentary features that will play as part of the third edition of the Changing Face of Europe section that runs as part of Hot Docs Film Festival’s industry program.
The industry program plays in a digital format this year, starting on April 30 and running until May 31. The festival’s public screenings have been postponed and will be rescheduled for a later date.
The films in the Changing Face of Europe were selected by the festival, based on recommendations by EFP member organizations, representing Europe’s film promotion institutes.
The documentaries will be presented to buyers, distributors and programmers through the films’ participation in the Doc Shop, Hot Docs’ online market that offers access to curated playlists of documentary titles on-demand and the hub for this year’s industry content.
The filmmakers of the 10 selected films have been invited to participate in the new digital industry program, including case studies and Distribution Rendezvous. In addition, directors and producers of films in the Changing Face of Europe section will be brought together with key distributors, buyers and festival programmers via virtual one-to-one meetings arranged by EFP.
“For the third year, Hot Docs is honored to partner with EFP to present a selection of documentaries, offering unique perspectives and engaging stories that give us a glimpse of a Europe in transition,” said Shane Smith, Hot Docs’ director of programming. “The program also introduces us to the talent behind the camera, skilled filmmakers destined to make their mark on the documentary world.”
They feature themes such as family separation and family support, alternative life concepts, gender identity and self-empowerment. Once more this year’s selection spotlights the increasing presence of works by women – seven of the 10 films are by female directors or female director teams.
EFP’s initiative is supported by Creative Europe – MEDIA Program of the European Union and the participating EFP member organizations.
“We are very happy and thankful to the festival that despite this difficult situation, we have the opportunity to bring European stories to the world and to connect filmmakers digitally with important decision-makers. Nothing has changed in our mission, namely to promote the diversity of outstanding European documentaries throughout the world,” said EFP’s managing director Sonja Heinen.
In “Always Amber,” Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen follow their protagonist over a period of three years capturing Amber’s search for sexual identity, friendship and love. The Swedish production premiered at this year’s Berlinale.
Ana Aleksovska’s debut film, “Consuming Contemporary” introduces us to several socially excluded seniors who are longing for togetherness and community and, to compensate for the lack of this, attend cultural events in Skopje – uninvited – which attracts the disapproval of the social elite.
“Dead Souls Vacation” by Georgian director Ekaterine Chelidze is a portrait of the formerly successful Georgian musician Levan Svanidze, who tries to regain success while living in a tiny apartment with his 84-year-old mother, Lamara.
Ksenia Okhapkina’s Estonian production “Immortal” focuses on the rigid structure of life in a small industrial city in Russia, and portrays the people who continue to live as before although the old system has broken down. For her feature-length documentary debut the Russian director was awarded the Grand Prix for best documentary film at the Karlovy Vary Film Festival.
The Icelandic director Yrsa Roca Fannberg made “The Last Autumn” as a long farewell to the rural life of a shepherd in Árneshreppur, a small community in the northwest of Iceland. For the last time, Ulfar and his wife will be herding their sheep from the hills down to the farm.
“This part of life belongs to me,” proclaims the protagonist Jola in “Lessons of Love.” The Polish filmmakers Małgorzata Goliszewska and Kasia Mateja lovingly and poetically portray a woman going her own way after separating from her abusive husband of 45 years.
“Prazer, Camradas! A Pleasure, Comrades!” by Portuguese filmmaker José Filipe Costa was premiered out of competition at Locarno Film Festival. The film recounts life and life concepts in the rural co-operatives established throughout the country after the 1975 Carnation Revolution, through re-enactments with original members of these communes.
“Reunited” by Danish director Mira Jargil tells of the dramatic separation of a family that has to leave their country because of the Syrian civil war. While the parents have fled to Denmark and Canada, their two little sons are stuck in Turkey. Jargil accompanies the family members who are waiting and dreaming of a reunion each and every day.
“Res Creata” by Italian director Alessandro Cattaneo is about the ancient, conflicting and manifold relationship between the human being and the animal.
“Two Roads,” directed by filmmaker and producer Radovan Síbrt (Czech Producer on the Move in 2018) is about the members of the band The Tap Tap, of whom all are disabled. The Tap Tap orchestra and the film illustrate how some of life’s most difficult obstacles can be overcome.