ÉCU was proud to present #SheShoots, a panel composed of the female film directors in competition at ÉCU 2017. This was an exceptional year because not only did 2017 mark the 12th edition of ÉCU, but we also had the privilege of showcasing films from a record number of 29 independent female filmmakers.
In an industry in which women are still vastly underrepresented, this marked a cause for celebration. On 22nd April, we opened the doors to the public at Cine Le Lincoln as we conversed with 6 of these talented directors in the form of a round-table discussion #SheShoots.
Nominated in the category of best European Independent Short we welcomed Patricia Venti who directed “Yellow Cab 1967. A Musical Hell” and Ely Chevillot, who not only directed “Ce Qui Echappe” but went on to win Best Director of ÉCU 2017 on our closing night on Sunday, 23rd April.
From the category of Non-European Short, we were delighted that Merve Gezen (“Scrabble”) and Dawn Han (“Cork Man”) were able to join us from Turkey and the United States of America respectively. Daniela Leitner, whose film “Late Season” went on to win Best European Independent Animation, also joined the panel alongside the director of “Promises Halimo Can’t Keep” Paula Palacious.
Having screened short extracts of their films, our moderator and festival coordinator Giedre invited the 6 filmmakers in attendance onto the stage. With each filmmaker introducing their film and talking of their inspirations, the panel went on to discuss candidly their journeys which eventually brought them to ÉCU.
When asked if they identified themselves as a filmmaker or female filmmaker, we began to discuss the connotations of gender on their career. Whilst some believed that their gender empowered their career allowing them to explore certain issues, raise awareness and to capture an element of softness with greater ease and power, some were in disagreement. Others felt that their gender played no such role in their career: neither as an empowerment nor a hindrance.
Conversation soon turned to why they chose to enter the independent film community. With the simple matter of finding funding being an obvious reason, the panel seemed to be in unison in that the independent film industry offers a lot more creative freedom.
With the event coming to an end following the animated discussion between attendees and panelists, our filmmakers were asked to give advice to younger aspiring female filmmakers: be creative, be determined and be passionate. And our advice? Simply BE INDIE.