ÉCU 2017 will screen nine profoundly absorbing and intensely moving films during its opening ceremony on Friday the 21st of April 2017 at Cinéma Les 7 Parnassiens in Paris, France. The opening selection features a series of world-class independent films from a range of high calibre directorial talent. Join us for a spectacular night of thrilling events during which we will be celebrating the commencement of the twelfth edition of ÉCU and the best of independent filmmaking in 2017.

shutdownWe are delighted to screen Alex Hardy’s British film Soldier Bee, a deeply harrowing and emotionally agonising tale of a young woman’s experience with PTSD on her return to quotidian life after serving in Afghanistan. A modern women in every sense of the word – a mother, a soldier and a wife – Jodie Baxter seems to face insurmountable psychological distress as she attempts to assimilate herself back into normal life, finding that her traumatising past endlessly haunts her in the form of a compulsive propensity for violence. The gripping drama treats its weighty subject matter with an acute perspicuity and a deep sensitivity, fittingly demonstrating the complexity of the mortifying nature of PTSD. Also from the UK, Charlotte Regan’s endearingly heartfelt comedy, Standby, portraying the progression of a friendship entirely set in a police patrol car, Stephan Bookas and Tristan Daws’s illuminating documentary poem Refugee Blues, a fusion of the poem by W. H Auden and an emotive recitation by a migrant from the jungle in Calais, as well as Giada Ghiringhelli’s Rhythm of Being, a vibrantly avant-garde representation of individual origination and growth.

Hisham Sharafeddine’s Night-Shift, a cutting-edge, witty take on corruption in a modern city through an attention-grabbing snapshot of daily life, depicts a case of bad timing in a one mini-market where two thieves clash. The truncated Lebanese crime drama follows the actions of a series of intertwined characters – a young boy stealing a bottle of whisky, a bald-headed thief robbing the store’s cash register and a luckless mini-market owner caught in the midst of the disorders – whose schemes take completely unexpected turns. The attention-grabbing production offers an unpredictably exciting sequence of twists and turns that keeps its viewers glued to the screen. Equally witty in its synthesis of sharp humour and melancholy realism is Christina Piernas and Victoria Ruiz Spanish comedy, Señor O Señorito, a topsy-turvy depiction of a world dominated by women in which Bernardo has to survive a ridiculously difficult interview to get the secretary position that he desires.

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Director Daniela Leitner presents a spirited yet melancholic tale in her Austrian production, Late Season, depicting the oscillations in the romance of a long-term couple – from framed photographs of the pair in their younger, happier years, to their present day, drearier life together as they hardly speak to one another anymore. The delicately crafted animation film demonstrates the unexpected wonders of love in the rekindling of the couple’s romance – with the help of some crabs – during a day at the beach. We will also screen a stunning French music video directed by Thomas Vernay, I Got Myself a Finish – Tom Rosenthal, which depicts with raw sensitivity the various emotional states that a girl experiences, in addition to Daniel Halsall’s short Dutch drama, A Little Help, a charmingly imaginative tale of an 8 year old girl’s quest for sweets, as she defies age and size boundaries.

In its twelfth edition, ÉCU continues to be a discovery point for many of the world’s best independent filmmakers who are driven by pure passion and the need to make great cinema without the benefit of large production budgets. This year’s festival runs from the 21st – 23rd of April at Cinéma Les 7 Parnassiens and Cinéma Le Lincoln in Paris. To learn more about our full festival programme and to buy tickets for the 3-day spectacle, click here!

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