Here at ÉCU, we are delighted to avow that our film festival is truly unique in ensuring that all filmmakers whose creative efforts are acclaimed by us are presented with the best opportunity to have their films celebrated at our festival and recognised by as many industry experts, filmmaking peers and members of the general public as possible. In honouring above all the encouragement and celebration of filmic talent and creative fecundity, we have found it to be consistently true that female filmmakers constitute a vital portion of the ground-breaking independent filmmaking that we acclaim.
Every year that ÉCU has existed, we have continually received an eclectic assortment of impressive film submissions from female filmmakers, ranging from poignant dramatic features and perspicuous documentaries to engaging short productions and innovative experimental works, all continually surpassing our expectations for the quality and content of all film submissions sent in to us. As a result, we find vital importance in celebrating the creative efforts of female filmmakers that make an immeasurable contribution in enriching the quality and corpus of independent cinema.
Of our esteemed selection of accolades, the award for Excellence in Women’s Filmmaking is certainly one of our most precious and symbolically significant. Yearly, the unique film that is bestowed with the award becomes representative of the convergence of our drive to shatter existing social barriers and fiercely challenge the status-quo, as well as our goal to offer fertile ground for films possessive of that magical element; a cinematographic je ne sais quoi which reminds us why we devote our lives to the inimitable world of independent filmmaking.
The twelfth edition of our annual festival event saw an exceptional crop of talented and innovative female filmmakers showcase their creative treasures, with screenings from a record number of 29 talented female directors who were all in competition for the thrilling opportunity to have their films awarded one of our accolades. The jam-packed 3-day film extravaganza which took place between 21-23 April in 8th arrondisement’s charming Cinema les 7 Parnassiens, offered an astonishing variety of shrewd, insightful and moving female-driven films originating from all around the world.
Among the impressive slate of films honoured in the 2017 Official Selection was Giada Ghiringhelli’s ‘Best Experimental Film’-winning Rhythm of Being, a vibrantly avant-garde representation of an individual’s origination and growth, Nanna Kristín Magnúsdóttir’s ‘Best European Independent Film’ winning drama, Cubs, an intimate exploration of both prepubescent female experience and the struggles of single-parent life, as well as Charlotte Regan’s heartfelt British comedy Standby, an endearing portrayal of the progression of a friendship entirely set in a police patrol car – the latter garnered that year’s award for Excellence in Women’s Filmmaking.
That same year, we also unveiled the first edition of our socially-conscious, highly-anticipated project, SheShoots, a lively and stimulating panel discussion composed of the female filmmakers in competition for ÉCU 2017. We opened our doors to the public at Paris’ Cinema Le Lincoln for the inaugural round-table discussion dealing with the selected filmmakers’ works, their inspirations and the role of gender in their respective journeys within the independent film industry. The film screenings and SheShoots workshop attended by many of our audience of industry partners and festival fans indubitably re-ignited our fierce pride in independent filmmaking.
Similarly, the eleventh edition of ÉCU saw an impressive number of stellar female-led films ardently celebrated. We screened the bold and original works to an audience that was blown away by the exceptional quality of the creative endeavours. Notably, directorial talent Una Gunjak’s German-Croatian drama, The Chicken, chronicling the experiences of a 6-year-old girl who is forced to face the realities of her existence in 1993 war-torn Sarajevo, earned ÉCU’s most prestigious award for Best European Independent Film.
ÉCU is unwavering in our commitment in ensuring that the pioneering female filmmakers who become involved with us are celebrated with all the zeal and empowered with all the devotion that they are due. We are loyal to our aim that they receive the most fortuitous opportunities possible to propel their creative voices so that these talents can push themselves forward and change the face of independent filmmaking itself.