ÉCU 2024 Student Film Selection : a very diversified category

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In this year’s edition of ÉCU we were presented with a vast selection of student films, diverging profoundly from themes, to storytelling, to the visuals of the movies. Exploring our Student Film Selection, we were pleased to be presented with six very different films, all brought together for having one defining characteristic: being academic projects.

Our first contestant was brought to us from Russia. The film is a less than three minutes short-movie named “Love Confession”. Directed and played by Anna Filonenko, this fictional film has a very unconventional format and distinguishes itself by its simplicity, as well as the heartfelt way the character speaks directly to the camera, addressing her now passed away mother and updating her on her personal life. Through recording herself with the intention of sending it to her mother, she is confessing the love she didn’t get a chance to declare when she was still alive.

In an online interview with ÉCU, we had the chance to get to know more details about the making of this film, as for instance, how quickly it was to be produced. She explains: “Well, I think that’s the fastest film production that you’ve encountered. I think from the moment that I got the idea for it, it took me from thirty minutes to one hour (…). The process was very similar to writing a poem”.

When asked if the low lighting of the background also had to do with portraying grief, Anna explained: “It’s a birthday wish video to begin with, right? So, I was thinking about the festive mode and it’s like, how would I celebrate my birthday if I didn’t have anyone else to celebrate it with? So, I was trying to create this sense of being alone in the night with the candles”.

“Love Confession”, by Anna Filonenko, 2023

After “Love Confession”, we were presented with “The Eliminating”, directed by Mengqing Xia. This short-movie from the United Kingdom can be described as a “sinister drama” that we get to understand better as we follow the conversation of four different people who are put inside of a stifling dungeon. 

“The Eliminating”, by Mengquing Xia, 2023

Originating from Belgium and Netherlands, an absurdist, comedy, short-movie named “Butterflyman” found its place on this year’s ÉCU edition. Directed by Jeroen Zeegers, this movie is full of color as well as being composed of beautiful imagery. But what truly sets it apart is its eccentrical plot and imaginative story-telling.

“Butterflyman”, by Jeroen Zeegers, 2023

The next film on the list, “Dead Man Walking”, also known as “DMW”, found its way to us from the Republic of Korea. Directed by Jacob Polat, this short-movie goes through a wide range of topics such as physical and gun violence, mafia brutality, internal turmoil, infertility, and all through the eyes of the main character, a Korean spy.

“Dead Man Walking”, by Jacob Polat, 2023

Following “DMW” we were shown a short-movie originary from Lithuania. Titled, “Through Gloom”, this film was directed by Arnas Balčiūnas. With two very different main characters, a nosy and chatty taxi driver and an impassive looking girl, at first we are led to believe that with such opposite personalities, the two of them won’t connect. However, as the young girl reveals her more ominous intentions, it all starts to change.

With its alluring and exquisite visuals, created by Milda Juodvalkytė, this film ended up being the winner of The Best Cinematography prize. 

“Through Gloom”, by Arnas Balčiūnas, 2023

Finally, we were introduced to “Push”, the winner of this year’s Best Student Film category. In this twenty-seven minute movie, created by russian director Anastasia Seregina, we are confronted with the story of Lilya, a great boxer fighter who is preparing for the biggest tournament of her life while simultaneously having to deal with her own feelings of insecurity regarding her chances of winning.

In an interview with ÉCU, the director speaks about the inner conflict of the main character: “So what would you choose: your career or your family? Can you risk it all and throw something away if you worked so hard, on your career for example. What if everyone is against you, who would you fight? For people or for things you really believe in? And I guess the main question is, can you have it all? Do you really need to choose?”.

“Push”, by Anastasia Seregina, 2023

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