Hot Docs Press Release 22

engaging stories and new perspectives of a europe in flux

European Film Promotion (EFP) is pleased to announce the fifth edition of THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE in collaboration with Hot Docs - Canadian International Documentary Festival, taking place from 28 April - 8 May 2022 in a hybrid format. This year’s selection includes nine feature films and one short that explore themes centered around environmental activism, the plight of refugees, the destructive powers of war and more.

The CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE features 10 outstanding new European documentaries selected by the festival from over 60 submissions made by the EFP member organisations, the national film institutes. In addition to festival screenings and access to a comprehensive industry programme, the directors and producers of the films will be matched with key distributors, buyers and festival programmers via prior virtual one-to-one meetings arranged by EFP. EFP's initiative is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and the participating EFP member organisations.

“Hot Docs is thrilled to partner with EFP for the fifth year to present a selection of documentaries that give us glimpses of a Europe in transition,” said Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs. “The talented filmmakers in this program offer new perspectives while bringing a sense of urgency to a wide range of topics.”

“Films about one's own identity, about fears in relation to war and environmental destruction and about the future are the focus of this year's film selection. In times like these, the different perspectives are all the more important, with dialogue and exchange at the core of our programme, said EFP’s Managing director Sonja Heinen. “We thank Hot Docs for the opportunity to share the vibrancy of Europe through its films, and to connect documentary filmmakers with the North American industry.“

In Atomic Hope – Inside the Pro-Nuclear Movement, the multi-award-winning Irish director Frankie Fenton asks whether nuclear energy is the only carbon-neutral technology capable of tackling the climate crisis while the Lithuanian artist and filmmaker Emilija Škarnulytė explores this theme in a completely different way: Her documentary Burial is a meditation on nuclear energy and the great effort required to deal with its waste. Playwright, stage director and former Icelandic European Shooting Star Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir, introduces us in Band her debut as a film director, to an all-female art rock band dealing with motherhood, aging and a self-imposed deadline to achieve success. All three films celebrate their world premieres in Toronto. In Bigger than Trauma, Vedrana Pribačić shows women gathering in an unorthodox therapy group to confront the aftermath of sexual violence during the Croatian War of Independence. In Toronto the first feature documentary by the Croatian filmmaker and journalist celebrates its International premiere.
North American premieres in this year’s programme include: How The Room Felt, an atmospheric film by Georgian director Ketevan Kapanadze that enters inside a cramped Georgian house where a group of female and non-binary friends have created a space safe from their intolerant surroundings; Just Animals, the portrait of two Finnish sisters grappling with activism’s hope and hopelessness while on divergent paths, directed by Saila Kivelä and Vesa Kuosmanen from Finland; and Nasim, the story of an Afghan mother of two living in the largest refugee camp in the EU and dreaming of her freedom. The German by Ole Jacobs' and Arne Büttner's film won two awards at DOK Leipzig 2021.
For two years, Polish director Paweł Łoziński placed his camera on the balcony of his flat and observed the people passing by below. In The Balcony Movie, that celebrates its Canadian premiere, the filmmaker approaches them, asks questions, listens and creates a space for conversations that rarely exist between strangers. Also, the Netherlands entry A Marble Travelogue by Sean Wang will be screened in Canada for the first time. The documentary is an arresting study of globalization that follows a pristine marble slab mined in Greece, processed in China, and eventually re-sold as fridge magnets in Europe. In her 30-minute visual essay Crotch Stories, French filmmaker Myleine Guiard-Schmid wonders if birth, apart from the joy of new life, can't also bring pleasure not only pain. Guiard-Schmid speaks with women who professionally support women in childbirth or who have given birth themselves and illustrates the descriptions with stop-motion sequences as well as with drawn and painted animations.

THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE in collaboration with Hot Docs - Canadian International Documentary Festival is made possible thanks to the support of Creative Europe – the MEDIA Programme of the European Union and the participating national film promotion institutes EFP’s member organisations: Croatian Audiovisual Centre, Finnish Film Foundation, Georgian National Film Center, German Films, Icelandic Film Centre, Lithuanian Film Centre, Polish Film Institute, Screen Ireland / Fís Éireann, SEE NL (The Netherlands), Unifrance. Media partners are Variety, POV Magazine and Cineuropa.

about hot docs

Hot Docs is a not-for-profit organization dedicated to advancing and celebrating the art of documentary and to creating production opportunities for documentary filmmakers. During the annual Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival, April 28 to May 8 in Toronto and online, the Festival will offer a dynamic hybrid experience for industry delegates, including a live three-day programme of knowledge sessions and networking events on its first weekend and online market programmes and sessions, including the renowned Hot Docs Forum, Hot Docs Deal Maker, Distribution Rendezvous and The Doc Shop. Year-round, Hot Docs supports the Canadian and international documentary industry with a multi-million-dollar production fund and financing initiative portfolio, including the Hot Docs Ted Rogers Fund, CrossCurrents Doc Funds, Hot Docs-Slaight Family Fund, Hot Docs-Blue Ice Group Fund and Hot Docs Partners, and valuable professional development programs, including Doc Ignite and Doc Accelerator.

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The Changing Face of Europe Selection 2022

Over the course of three years, the film follows four women who were among thousands of those that experienced life changing trauma during the War 27 years ago. They relate their life stories through a complex process of personal empowerment. Both individually and as a group, they begin to grow and life starts to allow them to become bigger than their trauma.

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Bigger than Trauma
Vedrana Pribačić

Ten years ago Saila confessed openly that she secretly filmed hundreds of animal farms. Saila's sister Mai chose a different path, politics, and Saila fears her biggest activist idol might become a part of the machinery they have been fighting against together. Now Saila needs to save herself and find out what kind of an activist and a person she is.

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Just Animals
Saila Kivelä, Vesa Kuosmanen

You will give birth in pain. Why? Are there other stories? Because birth does not always rhyme with pain, Crotch stories transmits a new imaginary : women who are on their way to reclaiming their bodies and their labours.

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Crotch Stories
Myleine Guiard-Schmid
France, Belgium

In the Georgian city of Kutaisi, a local women's football club constitutes the heart of a group of female and non-binary queer people, who get together regularly to hang out, to party, to hug each other, and to discuss existential issues. Their gatherings provide a cozy, safe space for these young people in a society that's not known for embracing its LGBTQ+ community. Discrimination, exclusion, and violence are part of the daily reality for these sports enthusiasts and their friends, whether on the streets or, in some cases, within the family. When they're together, they find the love, warmth, and safety they need to fully be themselves.

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How the Room Felt
Ketevan Kapanadze

Nasim, a woman from Afghanistan, lives in Moria, the largest refugee camp in Europe. Together with her husband Shamsullah, their two sons and her extended family, Nasim tries to manage the rough camp life while starting to question her unhappy marriage. When a fire destroys the camp, Nasim witnesses Europe turning a blind eye towards refugees again.

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Ole Jacobs, Arne Büttner

The three women of the Post Performance Blues Band (PPBB) have never made it big. Their shows are avant-garde and unclassifiable, playing to dive bars with half-empty crowds. Their lyrics are about everything from waffles and coffee to their mothers. And they’re about to turn 40. Band, directed by PPBB member Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir, thrums with madcap creative passion, as the band gives themselves one last year to make it or break it. Evoking Spinal Tap’s rollicking absurdity, the film borders on mockumentary, grounded by profound reflections on parenthood, failure and dauntless friendship.

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Álfrún Örnólfsdóttir

Is nuclear energy the solution to the climate crisis? Whether it is the only carbon-neutral technology capable of tackling the crisis or a fatally convenient stopgap, time is running out.

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Atomic Hope
Frankie Fenton

A python slithers and curls over the abandoned control room of Chernobyl's sister, the Ignalina Nuclear Power Plant, its radioactive core an unleashed monster that will slither through time for a million years. From Etruscan ruins and sunken cities to the modern underground repositories, director Emilija Škarnulytė follows our attempts to bury the immortal.

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Emilija Škarnulytė
Lithuania, Norway

This film follows marble from its homeland in Greece to China, where it is processed for sale back to the West. As the condition of world markets constantly shifts and changes, we encounter those whose lives are devoted to the commoditization of things both ancient and new.

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Sean Wang
The Netherlands, Hong-Kong, France, Greece

Can anyone be a movie hero? Can the world be locked in one film frame? Director Paweł Łoziński is watching people from his balcony as they are passing by: sad, thoughtful, glued to their phones, young and old. Neighbours, random visitors or simply passers-by. The filmmaker accosts them, asks questions, talks about how they deal with life. Standing there with his camera for over 2 years he has created a space for dialogue, a lay confessional of sorts, where everyone can stop by and tell their story. The protagonists carry secrets and mysteries, and are not easy to label. Every story is unique, and life always surpasses imagination.

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Pawel Łoziński