ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival is excited to announce its Official Selection of films that were showcased at the 16th edition of the festival. ÉCU 2021 proudly screened screen 71 films from 27 countries on the 9th, 10th, and 11th of April 2021 in Les 7 Parnassiens cinema in Paris and online via La 25 Heure.
European Dramatic Feature
Director Süheyla Schwenk
Hayat has come to Berlin with her husband, Harun, to provide a better life for their unborn child. All they have is a small suitcase and Hayat’s nightmares of her life in Syria.
Director Leonardo Antonio
Lucia is raped by her husband and presses charges against him. While fighting the Portuguese legal system to get her husband in court, she finds out she is pregnant. The case takes place in a closed session wherein Lucia represents the woman in a man’s world – the subject is rape and prostitution in marriage.
Director Philippe Dajoux
Follow the stories of our vagabonds, with seemingly no future, who will discover the meaning of hope. Inspired by true stories, this film aims to bring to light those who are too often left in the shadows.
European Dramatic Short
Director Florence Faure
Passing themselves off as sensual women, young teenagers converse with a stranger on an online dating site. They have fun flirting with him and arousing him. When the stranger sets up a date with them in a cafe, they are intrigued and decide to go and meet him.
Director Tõnis Pill
When two strangers’ paths cross after a car accident, the woman hijacks the situation and gets into the man’s car, demanding that he take her away from there. As the man tries to find a solution to the predicament, fragments from the woman’s past start painting a picture of the tragic events that happened to her.
Director Anthony Nti
Country Belgium, Ghana
A foreigner in Ghana gets an assignment from his gang to find kids for a risky job that will take place later that evening. While spending the day with two energetic children, Prince and Matilda, he starts to question his decision and how it will affect their lives.
Director Doğuş Özokutan
Yusuf takes a new job carrying refugees in his refrigerated meat truck; the only way he can find to get money to save his daughter’s life. However, when the smuggler shows up with the refugees, Yusuf realizes there are also children that won’t survive in a refrigerated truck.
Director Jorge Muriel
Two strangers meet in a subway car. Both bring their past with them. Both look from their present. Both will determine their future in that fleeting, and ephemeral, vital journey that brings them together briefly.
Director Mateo Willis
Moments before his funeral, a father’s dark past threatens the fragile peace between two brothers.
Director Nüll García
While a model is doing a photo shoot with a recognized photographer, he proposes to take the photos with the naked torso; to convey the insecurity caused by nakedness. He wants to talk about how vulnerable women feel in this society.
Director Diego Saniz
David is a guy with friends that has some success with women, but he feels completely empty. Then Elena arrives in his life. Idealizing her instantly, David thinks he found what he craves so much. He thinks he falls in love; he wants it with all his might.
THE HANDSOME IN THE MIRROR
Director Egil Pedersen
A man living by himself, who is obsessed with order in his home, is confronted by himself. The film is a surreal horror comedy.
Director Adrian Perez
Legend has it that a magic spot in the mountains has healing powers. That’s where Ben treats fatally ill people and that’s where Sarah seeks revenge for her dead sister. A modern alpine saga of good faith.
Director Aitor Almuedo Esteban
A boy is thrown into a trash container from the future. In his frantic search for the exit, he runs into a mysterious man who will make him doubt the origin of his own existence.
Director Larisa Faber
Country Luxembourg, Romania
After the sale of the family flat, live-in maid Maria finds herself homeless and stranded. She decides to declare the broom cupboard, located on the same floor as her former flat, her new home. Her neighbours, however, are everything but pleased by this solution. They start to see the elderly maid as an intrusion into their lives, and can’t help but wonder how to get rid of her.
LETTERS TO GOD
Director Yves Cohen
Since his daughter’s death, Moshe lives alone rejecting his wife whom he blames for this tragedy. In order to get out of his confinement, he accepts a job at a special post office branch that is in charge of letters sent to God from all over the world.
Director Paris Erotokritou
In an urban setting deserted by most of its inhabitants, the financial and psychological destruction of a new generation by the ‘old guard’ arises. The ‘old guard’ insists on projecting ‘a façade of normality,’ refusing to acknowledge the destruction that has already set in.
SECURITY HEALTH WORK
Director Marc-Antoine Modol
A young woman is confined alone in the countryside without her husband, who is trying to join her.
Director Georgi M. Unkovski
Country North Macedonia
After an unsuccessful attempt to renew his car registration, Dejan falls into a bureaucratic trap that tests his determination to be a responsible father.
Director Daniel Maurer
The second wave of Covid significantly increased mortality in hospitals. What does this mean for the work of Mathieu, employed in the morgue of a regional hospital center? How does he relate to these people whose souls have recently left their bodies?
Directors Mathilde Babo, Zoé Rossion
A former Stasi prisoner revisits his cell.
Director Lander Haverals
A child of victims and a child of perpetrators, yet they became friends for life. Simon Gronowski and Koenraad lost almost everything in World War II, but they found each other.
Non-European Dramatic Feature
Director Stephen Rutterford
William Edgar inhabits a strange dream-like reality. His obsession with a mysterious woman leads down a bizarre, dark path of signs and wonders. Sometimes finding the girl of your dreams can be a nightmare.
Director Jun Wang
During the COVID-19 epidemic in China, Wang Yang’s mother was infected and died in Wuhan. Wang Yang lost her only relative and wanted to seek death. When attempting suicide, she was rescued by construction worker Jia Xiusheng and inadvertently broke into life.
Director Yuria Matsushita
Based upon a poem by Shuji Terayama, which itself is based on the true story of four young sisters who escape their dismal lives by entering a world of fantasy. The movie is set in the Showa period within some gorgeous Japanese countryside.
Non-European Dramatic Short
Director Rami Kodeih
As Nazis separate children from their parents in the Warsaw Ghetto, a gang of women risks everything to smuggle their friend’s three-month-old baby to safety. Inspired by true events.
THE ELEVATOR OF LIFE
Director Pang Guolin
Life is short, sometimes separate and sometimes together, just like an elevator journey, cherish the present, cherish the people in front of us, cherish our future days. Love the people around you all the time.
Director Farnoosh Abedi
A piano player tries to bring his wife back to life, but the deal awakens the devil inside him.
Director Nora Jaenicke
On a publicity tour for her best-selling memoir, a writer is forced to confront secrets from her past when an estranged childhood friend shows up unannounced.
Director Ario Motevaghr
Moniri and Kheradmand’s family are in the park for a picnic. But after finishing their meal, it becomes clear that they are here for something else.
Director Sergine Dumais
Sara is in bed with her lover when her husband calls. When he asks for something in his sock drawer, she runs home, stalling for time, asking endless questions about Wichita, Kansas.
Based in the front line of the battle of Wuhan “combating the epidemic”, this movie records the true stories in the “heroic city” including “from pause to restart”, and “going through life and death”, etc. in a panoramic view.
Directors Isabel Peppard, Josie Hess
A lonely house-wife’s plan to end it all takes an unexpected turn when her last hurrah begins a radical journey of sexual exploration and personal re-invention.
Director Joe Penney
In 14th Century Mali, an ambitious young royal named Mansa Musa ascended the throne. His story remains a myth. ‘Sun of the Soil’ is the story of Malian artist Abdou Ouologuem’s journey to discover the truth behind this legendary African king.
Director Jerry Hoffmann
Anorexia is taking up more and more space in Jean’s life, or as he would call it; the incredible feeling of absolute self-control. But then Lili enters his life.
Director Greta Benkelmann
Theo has dementia. While he is busy dying, life puts a spoke in his wheel. A film about friendship, pizza and other things worth living.
Directors Emily Bowell, Thomas Attwood
A single mother has to regain her strength and courage to rescue her missing daughter after discovering she might be closer than expected.
Director Ashley George
After surviving assault, an enigmatic 17-year-old Mexican girl finds retribution through her untapped female power and local witch culture.
Director Ming Yang
The Mongols believe that everyone has a spirit. Tengri is their god; his spirit is hidden in nature to protect the tribe. Mongols call people who do not respect life and nature “monsters.” They also believe that monsters are inherently good by nature, and that their evil behaviour is not their primary intention.
Director Wiebke Becker
A diagnosis feared by everyone: When 18-years-old Thomas can no longer keep his paedophilia secret, his family is about to be thrown out of joint.
Director Andreas Kessler
Sara endured many years in a relationship full of control and violence. As she and her family go on vacation, an opportunity to break away suddenly presents itself.
Director Adva Reichman
Nabila, a Palestinian woman, eight months pregnant, whose husband died in an Israeli prison, wants to avenge his death. With the help of Hamas, she plans a terror attack in Israel. The premature birth of her baby makes her reconsider, but will Hamas let her off the hook?
Director Shira Haimovici
Gal, a 13-year-old redhead girl runs away from her older sisters towards her favourite relaxing summer spot; the magical refreshing pond nearby her summer house. Shortly after her arrival, a group of ultraorthodox Hassidic Jews arrive and violently kick her out of her spot.
Director Joscha Bongard
During times of changing gender roles, a tinder date encourages young Leonid to live his own definition of “masculinity”. A current reflection on love, sexuality and role models.
Arab Special Selection
Director Suzannah Mirghani
Country Qatar, Sudan
In a cotton-farming village in Sudan, 15-year-old Nafisa has a crush on Babiker, but her parents have arranged her marriage to Nadir, a young Sudanese businessman living abroad. Nafisa’s grandmother Al-Sit, the powerful village matriarch, has her own plans for Nafisa’s future. But can Nafisa choose for herself?
LET MY BODY SPEAK
Director Madonna Adib
This documentary is a personal and intimate journey exploring the repression experienced by the filmmaker during her childhood when she faced sexual control in Damascus, also experiencing growing socio-political repression. Through the creative use of family archives in Damascus mixed with current footage of her body, she reconstructs the pain of the past.
Directors Khawla Al Hammouri, Louis Karim Sayad DeCaprio
After nearly a decade of conflict, Syrian women refugees are some of the most vulnerable. Thousands have lost their families and husbands, and now must provide for their children, alone in an unfamiliar country. In this short film, six Syrian women living in Jordan recount their personal stories of survival.
Director Awad Abdelrahman
Country Qatar, Sudan
After becoming the student body president, Ahmed discovers that the system is corrupt. Ahmed is now left with a single defining choice; does he continue to follow a corrupt system, or stand with the people and sacrifice everything that he has worked for?
European Comedy Film
Director Sasha Paracels
Country Russian Federation
Chained to a pipe in a dark room, a young woman must fight her way out and discover the dark secret to her imprisonment.
Director P.E. Joubert
“All you need to make a movie is a girl and a gun,” Godard said. Three guys are going to take this quote way too seriously and try, in an absurd way, to make a movie with just a girl and a gun.
Director Caren Wuhrer
Edda and Egon pictured their new son-in-law very differently. Especially less striped and furry. While meeting each other for the first time at a restaurant, daughter Oona and her future husband are not only confronted with prejudices.
Director Tatiana Astapova
Country Russian Federation
On one hot summer day Nikolay went to a shop to buy a watermelon. Knocking one after another it seemed to him that one had knocked back. He brought it home and waved with a knife when heard the sound again. The watermelon talked to him using Morse code.He introduced himself as 7293 and thus their friendship began.
European Music Video
CASS & LEX
Director Phillip Kaminiak
This music video documents the life of a real-life couple Cassandre Clerc and Johannes Lex. By translating their relationship into Dance, Cass & Lex tells a poem about the beauty and the horror of love.
DANCING WITH MY DEMONS
Director Charlotte Aftassi
Dancing with my demons’ reminds us that we all have our own demons. But we mask them, so as not to see them. In this eternal war of light and shadow, will this bewitching young lady from ‘Eyes Wide Shut’ film be able to find her own light?
Because let’s not forget it, the light always wins…
LA DOMENICA DELLE SALME
Director Lucian Alexandrov
‘La Domenica Delle Salme’ is a dystopian story about an alien doctor who analyses some dead humans and finds out something disturbing about them.
HIDEAWAY (BAND: NÎM)
Director Etienne Fu-Le Saulnier
A man dancing amid the raging elements.
Director Savvas Stavrou
From robot to YOLO; a man discovers what it means to break free and let go.
Director Hanna Marshal
There are lines in one’s life where it crosses, opens up to the realisation that they have the power to reject the habit, to resist against them, to push for change, and to reclaim one’s own destiny. ‘The Line’ is a metaphor and the story is universal.
Director Philos Maurice Klein
‘Modern Day Cathedral’ is a blues ceremony against greed and consumerism. A surreal journey that encapsulates the theme of modern consumerism, our self-destruction as a species and our hope that prevails through it all.
Director Taisia Deeva
Country Germany, Ukraine
A boy is being bullied in his neighbourhood. He feels desperate and hopeless but suddenly, he is able to escape by levitating above the ground. The film bounces on the edge of surrealistic optimism, explores the moods of hope and despair and above all – our continued desire for human connection.
WE’RE BOTH IN TROUBLE NOW
Director Jonny Sanders
Shot in isolation with actors who have never been in the same room together, this music video starts as an exploration of loneliness and the feeling of being trapped inside, but then it twists and turns until it culminates in a jubilant celebration.
Director Raphaël Bluzet
IRIS is an animated film, painting the story of a life through the vision of the hand.
European Experimental Film
Director Fernando Manso
Casiopea is the journey to life itself. A captivating adventure that unravels the eternal question of humankind: What happens before/after life?
Director N.P. Novack
A famous dawn painter lives alone, with no sign of wife or children. He seems to have always lived in his art studio, painting as the day begins. But one morning, as he is finishing his last canvas, the sun does not rise.
Director Zina Papadopoulou, Petros Papadopoulos
In a single-tone, vertical city, a lonely man. He stands out as he stands out from his selves. Divided, split. Trying to fit in, to synchronize.
Director Arturo Bandinelli
This film is a statement on the psychological effects that harsh political borders have on people. It offers the viewer a window into the dancers’ internal worlds, where they go to escape from their bleak, oppressive realities. Both together and alone, they are able to express themselves and a bond is formed.
European Animated Film
LES CHAUSSURES DE LOUIS
Directors Théo Jamin, Kayu Leung, Marion Philippe, Jean-Géraud Blanc
Louis, an eight-and-a-half-year-old autistic kid arrives at his new school and is about to introduce himself.
Directors Claire Eyheramendy, Simon Duclos, Pauline Gregoire
In a possible future, Josée, a solid forest officer, finds a forest made from hybrids of trees and deer. She becomes attached to the youngest fawn while machines arrive to tear down the flock. The small fawn survived and Josée takes it upon herself to help him grow his leaves again.
Director Nadine Schwenk
Deep down in the swamps of Louisiana, Evangeline finds an alligator egg and decides to take it home. When the alligator hatches, she finally has a friend to play with. However, the size of the alligator soon becomes a problem for Evangeline and it becomes increasingly harder to hide it from her father, Levon.
Director Simone Giampaolo
Celebrating the environmental youth movement 30 years in the making, ‘Only a Child’ is a visual poem giving shape and colour to the original words spoken by Severn Suzuki at the UN Summit in Rio in 1992. This film has been created by more than 20 animation directors under the artistic supervision of Simone Giampaolo.
Director Arjan Brentjes
In a heavily polluted world, a young woman mourns the disappearance of animal species. When she falls ill due to a bacterial infection, nature appears to send her a message in her hallucinations.