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To celebrate this year’s ÉCU film festival, a launch party was held at La Scopitone, Opera, where filmmakers, partners, and the french press could meet the ÉCU team and get a taste of what is to come in two weeks. An anonymous ÉCU team member (intern spy) documented the evening surreptitiously mingling in the crowd whilst all the while jotting down furtive notes on the events of the night. Here are some extracts:

6.30pm – Arrive at La Scopitone club and head down the stairs. Intern spy enters the main room only to see Electrician on the floor after suffering an electric shock. The lights are out, the sound is dead, can we pull this off?!

7.30pm – Of course we can! Everything is fixed. Relief.

7.45pm – At least 4 ÉCU interns are already visibly distressed. Sandwich canapés still appear to be frozen, and there is much debate over separating the meat from the fish, for the sake of the vegetarians (I have yet to meet a french veggie, but you never know).

8.00pm – Ten pizzas arrive. The mood lifts. Mad dash for pepperoni.

8.20pm – Pep talk from ÉCU President, apparently we are like the Apple store and we will not be saying ‘Je ne sais pas’ tonight, I wonder if we’re all in for an iPad? Another talk by ÉCU coordinator, but it’s hard to hear over all this chewing. But generally we are going to awesome and mingle and get people excited about the festival.

8.30pm – Arrival time for first VIP guests. Currently no VIP guests. Fashionably late.

9.00pm – Some guests are here! Intern spy practises their networking technique with someone representing a very important partner. Partner sincerely worried that Scott has not written his speech yet, I assure them he has definitely got it under control. Scott walks past hurriedly with a pen and paper. Intern spy smiles nervously.

9.15pm – Intern spy goes to chat with the girls at the ticket reservation sofa. Even without wifi tickets will be on sale tonight for all the early birds.

9.20pm – Sandwich update: triangles are now defrosted and being handed out most elegantly on platters.

9.30pm – The wine at the open bar is flowing freely. Various comments overheard range from ‘deep-bodied’, ‘fruity’ and, as a sign of the night ahead, ‘goes down easy.’ Intern spy has not heard anyone say ‘Je ne sais pas’ yet, so maybe the wine is helping.

10.00pm – The first band come on stage. Both men are wearing hats in an off-beat folky fashion. They are Michael Saranga (both of them) and they sound like a french Jack Johnson. Projected behind them during one of their most chilled-out songs is a trailer for A. Hitler. I don’t think anyone expected that.

10.30pm – Time for Scott’s speech! Real excitement in the crowd. A lot of shushing. Scott describes ÉCU as a filmmakers festival that has no need for red carpets and limousines and even fits in a jibe at the French. Good times. Teasers are projected onto the screen which get the crowd going (I spotted at least 4 separate naked female breasts) and also detailed trailers of the 5 french films in competition. Scott ends the speech by thanking the team and showing the short clip of our SUPER FUN PROFESSIONAL photo shoot which shows what hip, wacky, and generally awesome people we are.

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10.45pm – Reactions to Scott’s speech. Spy overhears ‘endearing’. ‘charming’ and ‘well, he came across quite well.’ (damning with the faintest praise?) The overriding sentence of the night though now seems to be ‘why has the free wine stopped and why did I have to pay to put my sweater in the cloakroom?’

10.55pm – Young intern chats with student filmmakers who ‘don’t really know what this is about, but we heard there was free wine!’. Filmmakers are so off-beat and kooky aren’t they? Later on I hear there was swearing during ÉCU interviews – woah, hardcore.

11.00pm – Tiffany Berton performs with a man wearing a delightful bow tie. Her sultry, sensual numbers aren’t really for dancing but she is very good. Intern spy would like to note at this point that the hippest crowd ever are now gathered in La Scopitone, it’s all red lipstick, asymmetric fringes and vintage clothing, daaaahling.

11.30pm – The bar is still the busiest area in the club. All languages being spoken and a huge variety of over enthusiastic gesticulating.

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12.00am – 90 minutes behind schedule and the final band still haven’t played. But the lead guitarist is female and looks awesome. So that’s enough for Intern Spy.

12.00am-03.00am – Intern spy can not publish the events that happened between these hours. Suffice to say there were more free drinks, awkward white-people dance moves (‘look like you don’t care’, shouted one embarrassed french guest), grapplings on sofas, interns hounding guests with cameras like paparazzi and one dedicated group singing Queen songs well into the early hours.

All in all the evening was a great success and everyone seemed to be having a lot of fun. High hopes for the festival in couple of days.

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