ECU logo 2014ÉCU may be officially based in Paris, but we broadcasted the festival worldwide via U-Stream, bringing you updates through our ÉCU 2014 Live Blog! Here are some posts written by ÉCU Team members during the festival:

DAY 1

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Getting ready

Only several hours left before the greatest evening of my life! I’m not kidding! After 6 months of loneliness in Paris I found an ideal job with the dream team! One month ago I sent the message to ÉCU, and started to prepare for the great European independent film festival.

My responsibility is to make sure that ÉCU in interesting for the press. Today I will have a lot of things to do: to complete finally the press list, to find everybody and to organize an interview of 20 journalists with Scott and different filmmakers. Sounds scary, but I know that everything will be fine… can’t wait for this weekend! It has to be LEGEN…wait for it…DARY!

– Anastasia

Just a few hours to go before the premiere !! Everyone running around and checking the last details !! I am sure it will all be great fun , the premiere , the parties but I have to say the thing I am mostly looking forward are the screenings !!

And for starters that would be a short film called Drag me by Nikos Kellis (http://ecu.festivalgenius.com/2014/films/dragme_nikoskellis_ecu2014), I think I respond well to its Gothic esthetics and melancholic animation and keeping with the mystery-horror mood another one that I can’t wait to see would be the 9th by Nathan Cordington in its world premiere (http://ecu.festivalgenius.com/2014/films/the9th_nathancodrington_ecu2014). The filmmakers promised thrills, blood and a tribute to one my favorite authors, Agatha Christie!

So if you are a horror buff like me , I will probably run into you in one of those screenings !! Keep reading for more updates !!!

See you all very soon !

– Diana

I’m writing to you in the air-conditioned solitude of the projection room of the 7 Parnassiens Cinema in Montparnasse, and this is the least hectic moment of my day. “You’re the tip of the spear,” Scott (the festival president) explained to me days before, “We rely on you to get the job done.

The pressure is on, but when it’s done right, you will be the happiest girl at the after party.” I long for the sweet relief of the Sunday night boat cruise, but my attention remains on lists of to-dos and technical terms. Who knew that after three years of communications classes, I would be working with VLC, DVI, HDMI, and other abbreviations that seem like a foreign language? Yet, I am embracing my role as production room assistant, and thankfully the ÉCU Team brings me back to earth when computers crash and wires do not connect. That’s what is great about working here: there is always a center of gravity. That, and everyone knows how important a cup of coffee is in the morning. These are definitely my kind of people.

Years of performing in live theater taught me not to succumb to the pressure of opening night, but I’m not perfect. I stress out when the computers are not connecting to the projector, but I know that I’m working with professionals, which is all of the comfort I need. All that is left to think about is how lucky I am to be controlling the most integral part of the opening night of the European Independent Film Festival. Not bad for a twenty-year-old american girl.

Wish me luck!

– Leah

The festival has just started and the guests are coming. I`m very excited because I have the opportunity to meet a lot of interesting people. There are a lot of actors, film directors, journalists and many others representatives of the world of entertainment. I have just met the italian director Gianluca Sodaro from the short movie “God Got his Head in the Clouds”. He is a very nice person and we talked a lot about his movie and of many different things. He told me about Sicily, his native place and also about Calabria, my native place and how, in a way, his movie was connected to these places. It was incredibly amusing to talk to each other. I really can`t wait to meet many other artists.

– Marcella 

Ceremony

So The Opening Ceremony just ended , the speeches were made , show-reels were shown(we even got a Churchill quote, if that isn’t class I do not know what is ) and people are enjoying the first bunch of films. I have to say people showed their enthusiasm for the festival right from the start , Scott and Kadi pointed out that this is really a filmmakers’ festival , and I can verify that their point is genuine and so true! When the filmmakers stood up emotion and joy flooded the room! As overwhelming is for them to see their films up on screen , for some of them it will be the first time, we all felt the same overwhelming feeling as if the films were ours. Because you see, that is what happens with independent films , everyone knows the hard work ,sweat and tears those people had to put in to make their films, so the audience know that when they support one of those films they are really a part of them ! No big budgets, no support , but a lot of soul as remarked by the President of the Festival Scott Hiller. And in some ways this festival is the best match for those kind of films because all of the people working for it , get little rewards but tonight I can promise you no one feels that way , after the opening ceremony everybody is filled with excitement for the festival weekend !!! Keep coming to the blog for regular updates and our paths will cross in some screening room or some party! Happy festival everyone !

– Diana

Oh, what a day! At the beginning it was just bringing boxes and buying stuff, but then things got interesting. You know I felt just like That movie: ”when the going gets tough, the tough get going…” That was my experience. Basically as a photographer and a videomaker (amateur, but still it’s good) I exploited my creativity at its best and I knew that I was part of something important going on. And then I met the directors and the actors and just very naturally began to talk to them before I took picture of them. And It kinda felt I’ve been doing this my entire life. Speaking of them about their carriers and then inviting them for a drink. One Italian producer also offered me a beer and I felt like people of the movie business just began to care about me. I don’t know, maybe just be nice to people randomly and then maybe you-ll find someone who can give a push to your career. It’s nice to dream As we say in Italy DAJE COSI.

– Gianlo

I kicked off my morning running tests up in the production room, which is always both exciting and terrifying. It’s exhilarating to see the films playing on the big screen, but of course there is always some small catastrophe – a missing essential cable, a stuttering video, dreaded black screens. But, as the day wore on, the small catastrophes were gradually corrected. After a whirlwind at the welcome desk getting filmmakers and their friends excited for the weekend, opening night went off without a single hitch. I am currently sitting outside the cinema, having taken a break from the production room to peek in and see the films on the big screen, from the audience’s point of view for the first time. And I gotta say, it’s pretty cool.

– Shannon

Opening night is over! You could feel the energy in the room as the filmmakers and audience got their first glimpse of the wide range of films that will be featured as part of the Official Selection. Throughout the year, I was working on the submissions team and watching a lot of the films we received (about 1000!) and it was so difficult to know that we only had three days to showcase so much talent! Now that we are here, I am excited to meet the cast and crews behind the productions that I’ve been following since September and celebrate their films with them.

Even after just one night, I can feel the ÉCU community forming. Everyone is positive and open-minded and it’s amazing to see industry veterans sharing perspective with first-time filmmakers. I’m looking forward to another two days!

– Jordan

DAY 2

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Workshops

A film cannot just be shot if there is no script… no words to describe the scenes of the montage. However, with a script, not only do we know each detail of each scene; but we can think and apply the different techniques and angle shots to portray the scene in the most impactful way for the audience. These ideas were shown by Alan Arrivée where he gave me a script and placed me in a group to discuss the types of camera angle shots that would be suitable to portray each scene and that its effect would create emotion on the spectator based on the scene. In the outcome of his session, it taught me that with a final script, we can portray the film in a variety of ways that we think of and how we want it to portray its message to the spectators.

– Martin

Screenings

Since this is a film festival we should talk about films , shouldn’t we ? Today I had the chance to watch a great film from a Lithuanian director Romas Zabarauskas. The film is called We Will Riot. The film debates lives in transition but also a country in transition. The film is set in Lithuania in the beatmakers club scene and debates very serious political issues, such as racism and homophobia, with the background of electronic music. There were 25 tracks composed for the film as the filmmaker explained in the Q and A.( As I am writing this text I have the voice of the filmmaker literally in my head since he is giving an interview right next to me !) That is what happens when you work for a film festival , you ll never know who is next to you and who might look over your shoulder as you write a text about them ! And now back to his answers , he said what every person involved in the independent circuit will tell you , if you are an independent filmmaker you have to be a little crazy! And I say keep being ‘crazy’ if that means you can create films like that !

– Diana

Today has been quite a day. This is my first time being on the social media side of an event and the best word I can use to describe it is nonstop. Whether posting on facebook ,that the cinema doors are opening ,or letting our followers on twitter know what bands are playing at the after party, we are always connecting to some social media outlet. Pictures, videos, comments, hashtags, sharing, following, liking, tweeting, facebook, instagram, pinterest, twitter-we do it all. Speed and creativity are essential. As part of the social media team one has to either capture the moment or report about it the second it is over and has to make each post actually grab readers attention ,who might be simply skiming their newsfeeds. Being part of the ÉCU festival has been such an interesting experience and I look forward to seeing what else I will learn and discover.

Well, Ive got to get back to tweeting and posting!

– Elizabeth

Today I was at the welcome desk all day. Sometimes ,it is a bit stressful because we are responsible for the tickets and the money as well. On the other hand what is good about it is that we have the opportunity to meet all these directors and I think in the end we are very lucky to be able to speak to the people that give life to the event and are the reason that our team created this event. As far as the team is concerned everybody gets along, and works in an atmosphere filled with joy , adrenaline and excitement. But above all we have a great feedback, people seem to be happy to be amongst us and to see really interesting films. I would have liked to have seen more films, especially up on the big screen, but I am mostly very happy to participate in the good work been done this weekend !

– Mathilde

So this is it , another great day as an intern at the ÉCU Film Festival! Today I am going to help the festival’s musicians, like Mike Beck and his bass player to install their equipment. I had the chance to talk to them about being an artist , they tour around the world and they just got back from the States. They are very happy to be playing for the festival where everybody is in good spirits. This festival is a great opportunity to meet people that are passionate by art and are willing to talk about it. Also the festival team gets along, that allows us to be more efficient.

– Anne Sophie

DAY 3

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So the last day of the Festival began , it is funny how three days can seem like a week and sometimes it seems like three minutes ! Now things are pretty calm , but I am sure they ll get more hectic as the day progresses ! I am really looking forward to the award ceremony today! Also , I would like to grab a moment and watch a film or two , but I do not think that will be possible! In the end I do not really mind, it is nice to pick filmmaker’s brain as a pass time , and that was a more elaborate way to describe the interviews we have been doing with filmmakers these 3 days ! It is really nice after months talking them via email, to try and get them to send their movies for the euroifc.com to see them and talk to them in person.

– Diana

Someone is forcing to write one paragraph every day, such a bore… Just joking! Yesterday we had a party with the crazy bunch of the festival: all the directors, actors, screenwriters just got crazy during the whole evening and we had the chance to talk to them as ‘normal people’. Some of us changed contacts, I talked to an American actor about my hobby and my passion (I make some amateur shortmovies when I can) and he gave me his card: you never know, maybe he’ll get famous with me. Now I’ll keep chatting with the directors coming in but tonight I’m hoping to get to know other interesting people from movie business.Too sad It’s the last day. But at least I will have a proper sleep this night… maybe. Ci vediamo rega!

– Gianlo

Now we are at the homestretch, third day at the ÉCU film festival. Another cool day as an intern meeting the people who created these marvelous works and helping it all happen. I am in the post-prod team, making sure all the interviews and videos are sexied up. This festival has been a great experience for me. I have been able to realize how important teamwork is in this kind of project, relying on the experience of other people who are just as passionate to see the film be born. Hopefully soon I will be presenting some project as well! It has been really exciting to be a part of this experience. Long Live all the Indie Films!

– Esteban

After many of the filmmakers had a chance to screen their films during the Friday and Saturday sessions, some of the pressure was lifted and everyone was ready to have a good time! We kept up our energy throughout the night to give us momentum for the last screening sessions on Sunday! Can’t wait for more fun tonight after the awards ceremony!

– Jordan

So, here we are, the 3rd and last day of the festival. Iit’s funny to look at our staff members’s face: they somehow don’t look as tired as –surely- their are. The mix of adrenalin, excitment and underpressure seems to work well together, plus that each of us have a way to keep functioning: while some people take power naps at the projection room, others take photos of it while holding a huge Starbucks cup of coffee. Myself, I don’t even know in which language I’ve been talking with people (but well, somehow the communication is going on so, uh, that’s what metters?). At this moment things are calm and it feels weird after the super busy and crazy morning we had today; the amount of work and things to do didn’t change, so maybe that’s a signal that we just learned better how to work as a team so together we are managing everything; and this everything seems pretty good so far.

– Clara

Last night, after fourteen hours of festival madness, the ÉCU Team was getting geared up to go out. We moved like zombies through the production rooms upstairs, getting changed, putting on our makeup, feeling both rewarded and utterly exhausted by the day. During the last session I had been sitting cross-legged on the floor, and after resting my face in my lap I proceeded to fall asleep just like that for twenty minutes. Maybe the nap was what I needed. By the time we arrived at Badaboum for the ÉCU day 2 after party and got a round of drinks, I was thrilled to be working off energy by laughing and dancing with my fellow interns. I also loved being able to talk casually with some of the filmmakers, who have come from all over the world and have such true excitement for their futures in independent cinema – the night was as inspiring as it was ridiculously fun. Today, my body is not quite appreciating having had only four hours of sleep, but my mind says it was all well worth it.

– Shannon

After many of the filmmakers had a chance to screen their films during the Friday and Saturday sessions, some of the pressure was lifted and everyone was ready to have a good time! We kept up our energy throughout the night to give us momentum for the last screening sessions on Sunday! Can’t wait for more fun tonight after the awards ceremony!

– Jordan

Everyone just seems really busy but everyone is happy. What I really enjoy is that our work is not fixed but flexible. I welcome people at the front desk, take photos all around, but also do slideshows at the “technical corner”. Besides I’m looking forward to the Audience Award tonight because that’s the best way to show that everyone participates in the festival and makes it a really great one!

– Yan

My favorite thing about working for ÉCU is using the walkie talkies in the projection room. Just kidding! Though walkie talkies are a fun childhood flashback, the highlight of the festival for me is watching all of our hard work come to life. When I started working at ÉCU, I didn’t know much of anything about independent film, but now I’m familiar with over 85 films. Also, chatting and making connections with filmmakers, actors, and musicians has been an incredible learning experience. I may be counting the minutes until the after party, but the anticipation comes with a bittersweet reminder that this experience is coming to a close. At least our team has documented all of the amazing memories!

– Leah

What do you think if I say INDEPENDENT?
Liberty, society, idea, far away from an ordinary world, new valor, loneliness or simple word in which who wants something could be find that?
I think that ÉCU could rapresents one of the most important meanings about the meaning of INDEPENDENT: the goal to unite creativity, abilities, potencials from all the world in three day of cinema, meetings, changes and discussions.
Each one of the staff and each one of the filmmakers is part of something and feel that his goal has something in common with other people.
Indipendent is a way of thinking, of making and creating.
We are a team and we want that in a team there are collaboration, supportation, integration.
We come from all over the world: different country, strange city for making The Same Independent Things.
ÉCU is a base of building and also its roof.
The team, the persons that give the possibility to exist to the festival, the filmmakers and our public are the floors of this building and material to built another one in the future.
Good luck Independent!!

Three days of cinema, films, ideas, workshops and parties with a common thing: stay all together and create something together.

– Guendalina

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