Girls and Honey, a short film by Pieter-Jan De Pue, and the documentary Passe-Partout by Tim De Keersmaecker have been selected for Hot Docs (27 April – 7 May), Toronto’s prime documentary festival. The programme also includes Soetkin Verstegen’s short Mr Sand and Life to Come, a co-production with Flanders.
Having spent years in Afghanistan for his acclaimed debut feature The Land of the Enlightened, Pieter-Jan De Pue travelled to Ukraine for Girls and Honey. There, in a village near Donetsk Airport, Anatoli and Svetlana have been living under fire since the war broke out between the pro-Russian rebels and the Ukrainian army. Anatoli has been a beekeeper all his life, and abandoning them is no option for the elderly couple.
The same country will also be the setting for De Pue’s next project. Currently in pre-production, Two Poachers is the story of two brothers who come face-to-face in the Ukrainian war.
The Hot Docs line-up also includes Passe-Partout, a film which Tim De Keersmaecker made as part of the documentary series The Paved Road. The series offers a thematically diverse insight into the subcultures that are to be found along our roadsides. De Keersmaecker followed Samuel, a 54-year-old Congolese without papers who is confined to working as a box-to-box distributor of local papers and feels like the involuntary lead actor in a drama written by Kafka.
Among the selected shorts is Mr Sand, a Danish-Belgian animated documentary. Directed by Soetkin Verstegen, it recalls the atmosphere of old movie theatres in a story told through a mixture of handmade techniques.
Claudio Capanna’s Life to Come, a co-production with Flanders, tells a whole other story. Twin brothers Eden and Leonardo were born premature. Through the new-borns’ daily life, the viewer discovers those who struggle by their side: the parents torn between happiness and concern, and the medical staff who have to deal with crucial ethical choices.