As the largest city (and the capital of France), with an intricate tie to Europe's culture, art, history and economy, Paris is the perfect location for the 2012 European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU). Since its beginnings in 2006, the ÉCU has been a bright star on the film festival scene, both in Europe and further afield.
The ÉCU is an annual film festival dedicated to the 'indie' cinema and is quickly being considered as the 'European version of Sundance'. Student tours to Paris that include the three-day event at the end of March and the beginning of April in 2012 will be an extraordinary insight into the world of modern European, independent cinema. The ÉCU itself hosts 12 different categories of films, which work to bring together some of the best independent filmmakers in the world. The categories at the 2012 ÉCU include: European submissions – Dramatic Feature, Dramatic Short, Documentary, Animation, Experimental, Music Video, European Youth Film – and non-European submissions – Dramatic Feature, Dramatic Short, Documentary. As well, there are worldwide (European and Non-European) submissions: Student Film, and ÉCU Firsts.
The festival itself will be held at Les 7 Parnassiens and Cinema Action Christine. Les 7 Parnassiens was the first film house in the Montparnasse area to show films in their original language, and it has seven auditoriums ranging from the intimately sized to the larger, more commercial screening rooms. Student tours should spend some time in Les 7 Parnassiens, but also visit the Cinema Action Christine – a twin art movie theater that opened in 1972 in the Latin Quarter of the city.
Not only will student tours to the ÉCU enable students to experience some of the best of the independent films being made in Europe, but they will also have the opportunity to be exposed to the various categories of 'foreign' films that allows for entries by non -European filmmakers. There is also a category of 'student films' and participants will be able to receive feedback on some of their works while learning to workshop others'.
One of the most interesting aspects of the ÉCU is the 'Speak to the Directors' panels that are ongoing through the event. Here, those on student tours will be able to ask various directors questions regarding their current films, their outlook on independent cinema and where it may be headed in the future. They may even be able to get a bit of information from the director about their upcoming projects.
In addition to this, the ÉCU brings together a host of agents, talent scouts, actors and actresses, directors, production companies and their representatives, distributors, and a variety of the film-loving public. It makes for an interesting atmosphere that is less about the glitz and glamor and more about the quality of the films being made. Student tours to the ÉCU will allow you to be a part of the independent film culture that the festival works to present.