Personal and cultural identity, women’s rights – religious and sexual – and new life concepts are among the topics of the second edition of THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE.
The programme, curated to reflect on the social, cultural and economical changes affecting Europe today, is presented by EFP (European Film Promotion) in collaboration with Hot Docs – Canadian International Documentary Festival. It features 10 outstanding new European documentaries – including four international and one North American premiere – selected by the festival from submissions made by European film promotion institutes, the EFP member organisations. The selection underlines the exceptional diversity and excellence of European documentaries and also spotlights the increasing presence of works by women – eight of the 10 films are by female directors. EFP‘s initiative is supported by the Creative Europe – MEDIA Programme of the European Union and the participating EFP member organisations.
Five of the films are looking at very different aspects of youth culture in Europe: Lord of the Toys by first time director Pablo Ben Yakov is the highly controversial, award-winning portrayal of East German YouTube creator Max “Adlersson” Herzberg. Easy Lessons by Hungarian filmmaker Dorottya Zurbó follows beautiful 17-year-old Kafia who fled a child marriage in Somalia and confronts what it takes to start a new life in Budapest. Also in search of a new life and her true sexual identity is 16-year-old Inga from Latvia, the only hearing member of a deaf family in Inga Can Hear by Kaspars Goba. Homeless young drifter Victorija seeks a place to stay to fulfil her dreams of a home and a life without drugs in How Much Do You Love Yourself?, the award-winning feature debut by Nina Blazin from Slovenia. The Swedish-British co-production Scheme Birds, the feature debut by Ellinor Hallin & Ellen Fiske, tells the story of young trou-blemaker Gemma, who moves directly from childhood to motherhood in one of Scotland’s rundown housing estates.
Two of the films centre around female empowerment: The Reformist – A Female Imam, Marie Skovgaard‘s debut feature, introduces us to Sherin Khankan, the driving force behind Europe’s first mosques run by female imams in Copenhagen. Swiss director Barbara Miller travelled around the world to show the successful and highly imaginative fight by women for a self-determined sexuality and a sensual relationship based on equality between the sexes in #Female Pleasure. Equally in search of happiness is Mark in To Share or Not to Share by Estonian visual artist Minna Hint and her co-director Meelis Muhu: Mark gives up a successful career in London to create a life beyond capitalism by founding his own community in Tallinn. In Seahorse, by British award-winning director Jeanie Finlay, a 30-year-old gay transgender man, Freddy, yearns to start a family and finally decides to carry a baby himself. Rugile Barzdziukaite‘s Acid Forest won the Best First Feature at the Locarno Film Festival and will represent her home country, Lithuania, at this year’s Biennale in Venice. She takes a visually stunning look at the devastation a large population of cormorants causes in the Curonian Spit, a UNESCO World Heritage Site and national park at the Baltic Sea.
All of the filmmakers will be on hand to present their films and take part in post-screening discussions with the very well-versed Hot Docs audience. In addition they will participate in industry events including workshops, pitches and meetings with festival programmers and acquisition executives, expanding their professional network on an international scale and supporting their film’s access to North American and other international markets. This year the programme has been expanded to include two new features: a panel discussion, presented by EFP and Hot Docs, on Euro-Canadian co-production providing practical advice from seasoned producers and intensive one on one meetings to support the development of new projects between European and Canadian producers, organized with EFP’s long term partner, Ontario Creates.
Since 2017, EFP also grants FILM SALES SUPPORT (FSS) for European world sales com-panies to promote and market films selected for Hot Docs. This year two companies seized the opportunity: German outfit Deckert Distribution will additionally push the promotion of I Had a Dream by Italian director Claudia Tosi and Filmdelights from Austria for Una Primavera by Valentina Primavera, both screening in the “Made in Italy” section of the festival.
The following EFP members are supporting THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE: Danish Film Institute, Estonian Film Institute, German Films, Hungarian National Film Fund, National Film Centre of Latvia, Lithuanian Film Centre, Slovenian Film Center, Swedish Film Institute and Swiss Films.
Source: European Film Promotion