Hot Docs Spotlights Europe and Mexico in New Programming Announcements

Fire at Sea, one of the recent European docs to spotlight contemporary culture and politics on the continent
Kino Lorber

By Pat Mullen

Hot Docs announced today a new partnership and programme for its upcoming festival. The 2018 Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival will debut the new 10-film sidebar ‘The Changing Face of Europe.’ The Changing Face of Europe is a collaboration with EFP (European Film Promotion) and will span a diverse sampling of international docs from the continent that highlight contemporary socio-political shifts. With Brexit (and the potential re-vote/Bre-entry) being one of the defining cultural shifts of the moment, as well as waves of refugees entering the continent in the current global migration crisis, a spotlight on Europe gives the festival an easy-to-navigate shot of topical films.

“We’re very excited to partner with European Film Promotion for the first time during this year’s Festival to present a selection of films highlighting the stories and issues that are affecting the Continent today” said Shane Smith, director of programming for Hot Docs in a statement from the festival. “By showcasing new voices and fresh perspectives with The Changing Face of Europe, we’re pleased to be able to introduce these films and their talented creators to the North American industry and to Toronto audiences.” European docs in the spotlight of late include Agnès Varda and JR’s whimsical Oscar nominee Faces Places, Ai Weiwei’s migration saga Human Flow, and Gianfranco Rosi’s eye-opening Fire at Sea.

The Changing Face of Europe combines the public and industry facing aspects of Hot Docs. Filmmakers selected for the programme will be invited to participate in pitches and industry summits with buyers and distributors while engaging audiences in hot topics shaping the globe. EFP aims to increase the visibility and marketability of European docs and this collaboration marks the organization’s first partnership with the festival. “We are delighted to strike up this new partnership with Hot Docs for European documentary films,” added Sonja Heinen, Managing Director of EFP. “The programme reflects on the ‘new Europe’ with its current political and social changes; and shines a light on the rich and vivid diversity of European documentaries. The EFP member organisations have nominated an excellent array of films and we are excited to see the final selection curated by the programmers at Hot Docs. We are honored to be part of this prestigious and important festival and look forward to presenting the European filmmakers to industry and audience alike.”

Hot Docs also announced that it would add a little spice to the 2018 festival by showcasing Mexican cinema in the annual Made In programme. “Mexico is a culturally vibrant country rich with history and tradition, and we’re so pleased to spotlight its new documentaries at Hot Docs this year,” said Smith. “Now seems like a perfect time to further connect with, and explore, the dynamic stories being told by Mexican filmmakers. A selection of bold, uncompromising and wildly imaginative documentaries will showcase the incredibly creative talent at work in the country today.” And with Mexico in the spotlight with the cultural divides created by Trump, a focus on the Latin American nation and Europe lets the festival explore both sides of the wall.

Made in Mexico is a collaboration with the Mexican Film Institute (IMCINE). Recent Mexican doc hits on the festival circuit include Chavela, The Devil’s Freedom, Narco Cultura, and Who is Dayani Cristal?.

Films for both programmes will be announced in March. Hot Docs runs April 26 to May 6, 2018. This year marks the festival’s 25th anniversary.