Highlighting stories from female directors, to complex family relationships, and gender identity exploration, European Film Promotion brings a vast array of stories to Hot Docs’ new online platform.

The 2020 selection of THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE at the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival features 10 exceptional films which give unique and unconventional insight into the reality of contemporary European life. Curated to highlight outstanding European documentaries, THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE programme is a collaboration between European Film Promotion (EFP) and Hot Docs. This year’s selection draws attention to the increasing presence of works by women – seven of the 10 films are by female directors or female director teams. With themes ranging from family separation and support, to gender identity and self-empowerment, the films skillfully showcase the talent of European documentary filmmakers. THE CHANGING FACE OF EUROPE programme will be accessible on the new online Hot Docs platform as of May 28, 2020 – June 15, 2020.

In Always Amber, Swedish co-directors Lia Hietala and Hannah Reinikainen follow their protagonist over a period of three years capturing Amber’s search for sexual identity, friendship and love. From North Macedonia, Ana Aleksovska’s debut film Consuming Contemporary introduces audiences 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 very 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. 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, as Ulfar and his wife herd their sheep from the hills down to the farm. 

In Lessons of Love, 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 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 split up and leave their country because of the Syrian civil war. Mira Jargil accompanies the family members who are waiting and dreaming for the 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 from Czech Republic is about the members of the band ‘The Tap Tap’, of whom all are disabled (or as they cynically call themselves, crippled), and show audiences how some of life’s most difficult obstacles can be overcome.