Launched in 1993, Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is the largest documentary film festival in North America. It takes place every spring, and film screenings are accompanied by international film fairs and industry conferences. This year’s edition will start on 28 April and will last until 8 May.
The latest film by Paweł Łoziński is among this year’s The Changing Face of Europe section. The Balcony Movie asks a number of important and universal questions. Can anyone be a film protagonist? Can you fit the entire world in a single frame? Director Paweł Łoziński watches people from his balcony. Both young and old, they walk by smiling, sad, thoughtful, staring at their phones. Residents of the neighbourhood, or casual visitors, ordinary passers-by. The author approaches them, asks questions, talks about their life and how they’re doing. Standing there with his camera for over 2 years, he created a place for dialogue, a secular confessional where everyone can stop and tell others about themselves. Every person carries their own riddles and secrets. They can’t be easily labelled. Life can’t be imagined. The Balcony Movie is a radical return to the early days of cinema, when it was people who approached the camera. Perhaps one just needs to stop and stay a while to see more?
The Shorts Programme is going to feature Backstage by Ada Smyk. The titular backstage is located at Teatr Wielki – Opera Narodowa [Grand Theatre – National Opera] in Warsaw. The craftsmen and craftswomen of its art studios are preparing costumes and sets for the upcoming premiere of one of the most important performances of the season. The film shows the invisible work of dozens of people who usually remain in the shadows of male and female artists performing on stage.
Zofia Kowalewska’s Only the Wind will compete for the jury’s opinion in Mid-length competition section and the hearts of the international audience. It’s international premiere of the film. It’s an extremely personal story that revolves around 92-year-old Zdzisław and his 25-year-old granddaughter. They set off on a 5000 km journey to a remote village in Kazakhstan. For him, it’s a return to the place where – as a teenager – he was exiled by the Soviets during World War II. After 70 years, he travels again to the country of his childhood in search of his first love, whom he had to leave behind. His granddaughter wants to support him on this difficult quest, while discovering the reality behind the tales she heard as a child. This is their last chance to say goodbye.
You can read more about the festival here.