Visions du Réel, CPH:DOX, Hot Docs: Strong German Presence in Nyon, Copenhagen and Toronto


Important documentary film festivals follow one another in swift succession in April and May: Visions du Réel is held in Nyon from 15 to 25 April, followed by CPH:DOX in Copenhagen (21 April to 12 May) and Hot Docs rounding off from 29 April to 9 May. German films are strongly represented in all three line-ups, and the impressive presence runs through every section.

COURAGE (Living Pictures Production) by Aliaksei Paluyan will be screened at all three festivals: in the Competition at Nyon, the Artscapes sidebar in Toronto, and the Change Makers section in Copenhagen. The film, which had its world premiere at the 2021 Berlinale, focuses on a dissident theatre group in Belarus and its courageous struggle for democracy and freedom.

A BLACK JESUS (Road Movies) by Luca Lucchesi can also be seen at all three documentary film festivals after an remarkable festival career: it will be shown in the Doc Alliance Selection in Nyon and in the Highlights section in Copenhagen.

2021 will be the fourth time that the European Film Promotion (EFP) is collaborating with Hot Docs on organising The Changing Face of Europe which brings together 10 European documentaries addressing such topical subjects as immigration, right-wing populist movements or economic fears. The EFP members submitted proposals for the section, with the festival director Shane Smith being responsible for programming. A BLACK JESUS was selected from Germany: the film centres on the clash of cultures between refugees and villagers in Sicily.

Films having their world premiere in Copenhagen's Fa:ct Award section include BEHIND THE HEADLINES (bauderfilm) by Daniel Sager, which deals with investigative journalism and travels, for example, to Moscow with the Süddeutsche Zeitung's investigative editorial team to visit Edward Snowden. The film will subsequently be shown as a Special Presentation and North American premiere in Toronto.

Valerie Bäuerlein's THE LUNAR COURSE OF MY LIFE (Mnemosyn Films Geneva) is one of the films having its world premiere in Nyon's National Competition: the sensitive film shows the efforts of the Japanese woman Nanako to find a way to herself and social participation together with other "hikkikomori" - young people who cannot withstand the pressures of society and this withdraw into isolation. The Burning Lights Competition features THE GREAT VOID (Amerikafilm) by Sebastian Mez: a dystopian vision of a post-pandemic world that will never be the same again. This visually powerful and formally captivating film is also being shown for the first time at Visions du Réel.

Hot Docs is also showing German documentaries as world premieres: VIRAL (Gebrüder Beetz) by Udi Nir and Sagi Bornstein as a Special Presentation and ZUHUR’S DAUGHTERS by Laurentia Genske and Robin Humboldt (CORSO Film) in the prominent World Showcase. VIRAL follows seven YouTubers through the Corona crisis, while ZUHUR’S DAUGHTERS observes a pair of teenage transgender twins who have fled Syria with their family.

A total of 14 German films and co-productions will be screened at Hot Docs this year, 13 at Visions du Réel, and 25 at CPH:DOX (including immersive and performative works). Like Nyon the festival in Copenhagen is also planned as a hybrid event. Hot Docs will take place in 2021 as an online-only format.

A list of all participating German films and co-productions at Visions du Réel, CPH:DOX and Hot Docs 2021 will be available here soon.

Contact: Julia Teichmann