POLISH DOCUMENTARIES AT HOT DOCS
The program of the 30th edition of the Canadian festival featured the Polish-Ukrainian-French film We Will Not Fade Away by Alisa Kovalenko and My Place Ozerna by Karina Będkowska.
Launched in 1993, the Hot Docs Canadian International Documentary Festival is the largest documentary film festival on the American continent. It takes place every spring, accompanied by international film markets and industry conferences. This year's edition will begin on 27 April and run until 7 May.
Karina Będkowska's film My Place Ozerna will have its international premiere there. It is a deeply personal story from the director. For the lonely Karina, travelling from London to Ozerna, a small village in Ukraine, unexpectedly becomes the beginning of a journey to regain her life force. In Ozerna, she meets her 84-year-old aunt Slava, who longs for her husband who passed away many years ago. Karina, several decades younger, cannot find her place in life. Living in London, her sense of alienation only deepens her ongoing depression. Both women have lost the will to live, but their mutual love restores meaning to their lives.
Meanwhile in We Will Not Fade Away, we follow the lives of five Ukrainian teenagers growing up in small towns in the country's coal mining region. Like their peers around the world, they struggle with boredom and numerous frustrations related to finding their own identity and path in life. However, these five are in Donbass, where war has been raging for years. Not only has the region been economically devastated, but battles continue to be fought in the distance – and sometimes quite close. The young people wrestle with reality, trying to find their way through the chaos using drawing, photography, music, and most importantly – friendship. They rebel, get swept up in adventure, daringly venture onto minefields and into coal mines, and play in ruined houses, attempting to make the most of the final golden hours of childhood. As they dream of escape, an unexpected invitation arrives. Would they like to visit Nepal and trek through the foothills of the Himalayas? – asks a well-known Ukrainian traveller. Suddenly, a glimmer of light sparks in the darkness. They train intensely to realise this seemingly impossible dream, documenting their efforts in video diaries. As the situation worsens in their homeland, the threat of a full-scale Russian invasion looms. Will the hopes and dreams of these young people endure?
More information about the festival can be found here.