The three-day spectacle that is ÉCU 2017 has offered festival attendees a jam-packed programme of impressive independent film screenings, spirited live music sets, perspicuous workshops and director Q&As, all constituting an unforgettable celebration of the world of independent cinema, right in the centre of the French capital! The end of ÉCU 2017 is swiftly approaching as the final screenings of our stellar official selection takes place today, followed by the highly-anticipated presentation ceremony during which our award winners will be announced.
In the Grand Salle, the morning session features a screening of the jarring real-life American thriller, Selling Isobel, a hair-raisingly, mind-numbingly gruesome tale of an unassuming yoga instructor who undergoes a horrendous ordeal as the victim of human trafficking. Rudolf Buitendach’s gripping drama offers audiences a deeply unique twist as the real-life victim stars as the film’s lead actress, courageously reliving her nightmarish experience – from her initial kidnapping after being lured into a stranger’s apartment under the pretense of a modelling job, to her inspiringly obstinate fight for survival at the hands of her captor, all while enduring a string of sexual assaults.
The final day of the festival features a screening of the deeply heartrending and sharply illuminating Spanish-Qatari documentary, Promises Halimo Can’t Keep. The film offers a profoundly intimate portrait Somalian refugee mother, Halimo, who fled political strife in her native country in order to forge a better life for herself and her two young daughters, whom she has to leave behind in Somalia. The film’s director, Paula Palacios, demonstrates a dexterous directorial eye in her ability to imbue a sensitive compassion her portrayal of the distressing trials that Halimo experiences, without tipping towards excessive levels of trite sympathy.
Next, Sama Waham’s Canadian film Sing For Me, presents a deeply intimate journey of a curious young woman’s dauntless quest into the artistically rich and spiritually profound tentacles of her ancestral lineage as a personal familial loss is entwined with a sensitive exploration of Iraq’s recent history and its socio-cultural oscillations. The strikingly poetic documentary offers series of archival footage, family photographs and personal memories that provides a tenderly nostalgic snapshot of a family’s personal history that has evolved, dispersed and marginally disappeared concomitantly with the dissolving dreams of a nation.
At ÉCU, we dedicate ourselves all year round to the discovery of new filmmakers and the promotion of highly innovative independent films of every genre – a resolve in which we are strengthened after witnessing the union of filmic talent and love for cinema that takes place at our beloved festival event!