As we count down to ÉCU 2012, we decided to sit down with the directors of last year’s Film of the Festival, 27m2, Gabriella Cserhati and Fabien Lartigue and discuss their experience with ÉCU, then and now, and their thoughts on independent filmmaking.

What was it like participating in ÉCU 2011?

Fabien: It was very cool.

Was this your first festival?

Gabriella: For this film it was the first festival, yeah. It was great, we didn’t believe it. Actually we were so sure it was not true, we were waiting for a second confirmation. (laughs) It was such a bizarre film so we didn’t believe it.

Has anything changed since winning Film of the Festival?

Gabriella: Yea, my hair turned green.

Fabien: I wake up earlier in the morning.

Gabriella: (laughs) But seriously, yes of course it’s changed.

Fabien: The film has been shown more than we expected

Gabriella: The main thing is, thanks to ÉCU, and thanks to winning ÉCU, and thanks to the team of ÉCU they really made a great job of showing our film all over the world and they really worked like hell so that was enormous for us. It’s changed for us to find a family kind of.

Fabien: It’s a festival that tries to takes risks, and that’s really nice. They don’t follow the big ones, they try to make their own choices and find really interesting new films.

Gabriella: That’s why it’s an honor to be a part of it. You see that its real humans, real professionals choosing – because otherwise it’s like a catalogue.

What have you been up to since winning last year?

Fabien: Just working on a new script, that’s all.

Gabriella: I’m doing theatre. I’m making something called Hidden Theatre. I made two volumes already. Just after winning ÉCU I made a new volume and I thought it was a huge success.

How does it feel being part of the ÉCU jury?

Gabriella: So cool. No really! Because you see from the inside that’s its real. And I’m happy that even if I don’t agree with the artistic choices I know they are choosing the film and why the selection is made in the end. I understand the criteria. It’s exciting.

Fabien: I don’t have it in my habit to judge. I may have a strong opinion, but not to judge.

Do you think being both a past participant and now a jury member changes/has changed how you look at films?

Gabriella: No, but it will change the way I make a film. Now when I watch other independent films they encourage me to go further and wilder. My main criterion for independent film is that it is not an economical question to be independent. It’s not because you don’t have enough money. It’s a question of research. That’s an independent movie its taking risks. That’s what pushing me to watch other movies and see how creative it is how many risks they take

Fabien: I quite agree with this.

What grabs your attention as a viewer?

Fabien: Same point. To try to find someone who has a new research, something that doesn’t correspond with the mainstream attitude of making film.

What would you recommend or advise other independent filmmakers?

Gabriella: Go wild! Go crazy. Just try to do something. Don’t make film only because you want to be a filmmaker. Make film because you need to say something.

Fabien: Even if it’s not a normal story, but it’s strong in you, even if it’s just images, but strong images, go and share it. Don’t make film only to be a filmmaker.

Why should people attend ÉCU 2012?

Gabriella: (laughs) This will be like an advertisement for ÉCU: Because it’s the only place in Paris now where there is an independent scene. It’s watchable. Because they only have 3 days to watch it and they must feel very privileged to watch it.

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