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‘Kelly,’ Norwegian Democrazy,’ ‘Woman of God’ Among European Section at Hot Docs

European Film Promotion has unveiled the seventh edition of the Changing Face of Europe, a section that runs as part of Toronto documentary festival Hot Docs, which runs April 25 – May 5.

The section features nine European documentaries, selected by the Hot Docs programming team, that “illustrate and examine a new and contemporary Europe from a cultural, social, geo-political and economic perspective.”

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In addition to attending the screenings and the festival’s industry program, the directors and producers of the films will be part of on-site and online events organized by EFP, including networking sessions and one-on-one meetings with distributors, buyers and festival programmers from North America.

“Kelly – Someone Else’s Dream” follows Estonian freestyle skier Kelly Sildaru. She was just 13 years old when she won a gold medal at the 2016 Winter X Games in Aspen. After breaking numerous other records, she broke her silence and accused her father and coach of abuse. Helen Löhmus’ and Leana Jalukse’s film has its world premiere at Hot Docs.

In “Norwegian Democrazy,” directors Fabien Greenberg and Bård Kjøge Rønning approach the leader of the Islamophobic hate group Stop the Islamization of Norway, Lars Thorsens, and provide an eye-opening glimpse of provocation for provocation’s sake, which is laid bare in a battle for democracy on the streets. This is an international premiere.

“Woman of God” by Maja Prettner follows the evangelical pastor Jana. Torn between her family, her faith and her own traumas, she searches for a path to freedom. The Slovenian film makes its international premieres.

North American premieres in this year’s program include “Limits of Europe” by Apolena Rychlíková, about Czech journalist Saša Uhlová who goes undercover for two years as an travelling worker. She reveals what life is really like for economic migrants who are forced to leave their children and families.

Laszló Csaki’s “Pelikan Blue,” a droll animated film, reveals the little-known story of how three young Hungarians forged train tickets in the late 1980s so that an entire generation was able to discover the Western world.

Edoardo Morabito’s second feature film “The Outpost” is a portrait of Christopher Clark, a Scottish eco-warrior who has dedicated his life to saving the Amazon rainforest. To achieve his ambitions and force the government to act, Chris always comes up with unconventional ideas, such as organizing a Pink Floyd concert in the heart of the forest.

In “Stray Bodies,” director Elina Psykou asks questions about life and death. It follows people who travel to other European countries to escape their national laws in order to keep control of their own bodies, whether in terms of euthanasia, abortion or artificial insemination.

Having its Canadian premiere is “Echo of You.” In her sensuous and life-affirming film, director Zara Zerny tenderly portrays nine elderly Danish people who talk about what it is like to carry on living without their loved ones by their sides. They share their heartaches and express their loneliness and describe with great sensitivity and beauty what it means to live with memories.

In “Such a Resounding Silence,” which celebrates its Ontario premiere, French actor Emmanuelle Béart reveals her own abuse. Joined by three other survivors, Béart co-directs this skilful critique of how France’s laws and social ethics enable a national child abuse crisis.

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