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From June 17th to the 20th, Tribeca Cinemas will play host to the first ever iteration of The Ecuadorian Film Festival in New York (EFFNY), a four-day competitive competition that plans to screen and celebrate some of the very best in Ecuador's swelling if seldom-discussed film industry.
The Festival is being presented by Maravilla, "a New York-based organization dedicated to raising awareness of Latin America through films and the arts," in co-partnership with the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador.
Under the banner "All You Need is Ecuador," the Festival's debut edition is set to showcase thirteen diverse feature films from both the narrative and nonfictional terrain, starting with the Opening Night selection, Darío Aguirre's autobiographical food-and-family documentary El Grill de César (Cesar's Grill) (watch the trailer above). Festivalgoers can also attend a talk on Friday, June 19th, with three rising and recognized executives and producers from Ecuadorian cinema.
Don't know a thing about Ecuadorian cinema? You're likely not alone. But rather than settle for cluelessness and shrug off this culturally-attuned, foreign-language up-start, why not take a chance on a international country's burgeoning film movement this week? Jurassic World ain't going anywhere, trust us...
In the meantime, there's plenty of great cinematic storytelling to be found among the Festival's thirteen varied films, a project to please even the most skeptical viewer who might still be wary of the "foreignness" of foreign-language filmmaking. Internationally-minded film festivals like EFFNY are so unique, so successful, and so vital precisely because they open our eyes to the ways in which global cinema can resemble but also diverge from film as we know it, deepening and expanding our cultural consciousness in the process. Few other film forums even attempt such a mission. But this one does. And for that, it is fully deserving of your awareness, your dollars, and your eyes.
"One thing about life is that you can only live yours," says Festival director and co-founder Christian Ponce. "But watching a movie is like cheating. With movies, you get to somehow live the lives of others. Ecuador is an interesting nation. It packs so much diversity into a very small territory, and at the same time it is a nation spread in many countries, thanks to migration. What we want with this Film Festival is for people to have some Ecuadorian experiences. Some of the stories you'll see at EFFNY are real, some are fiction, but they are all possible in an Ecuadorian universe. I hope people come and leave their shoes at the door, so they can step into someone else's life, at least for some eighty or ninety minutes."
We'll be there. And we hope to see you too!
For now, check out trailers for four of the most promising features selected for the Festival, and see showtimes, buy tickets, and check out the full slate of films here.
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