Maravilla, a New York-based organization dedicated to raising awareness of Latin America through films and the arts, in partnership with the Ministry of Tourism of Ecuador, has announced the first edition of the Ecuadorian Film Festival in New York, EFFY: All You Need Is Ecuador, the first film festival in the world dedicated to showcasing and celebrating the burgeoning cinema of the South American country.
The competitive festival will take place June 17-21 at the Tribeca Cinemas in New York City and will open with the acclaimed documentary feature César’s Grill / El grill de César. The personal family drama by director Darío Aguirre was a favorite at Visions du Réel, Cartagena, Toulouse, and Vancouver film festivals. The closing night film will be Holiday / Feriado, the acclaimed debut feature by Diego Araujo. Hailed as a “gentle, attractive coming-out story” (Variety), the film had its world premiere as part of the official competition at the Berlinale.
As a direct and exciting evolution of the seven-year-old Ecuadorian Film Showcase in New York, EFFNY will screen 13 feature films, with many of the filmmakers in attendance. Some of the other highlights include Tito Molina’s Silence in Dreamland / Silencio en la tierra de los sueños, which was Ecuador’s submission to this year’s Academy Awards®; Eva Zelig’s documentary feature An Unknown Country, which tells the overlooked story of European Jews who escaped Nazi persecution to find refuge in Ecuador; and Open Wound / Mono con gallinas, a powerful POW drama set in 1941 during the war between Ecuador and Peru.
In its inaugural edition, EFFNY will present two awards. A jury composed of renowned film professionals will present the award for Best Film, and the public attending the screenings will vote for the Audience Award. In addition to the film screenings the festival will present a special tasting of Ecuadorian products, and two special panel discussions, one featuring Ecuador as an attractive and convenient location for international film productions, and another a conversation with the guest filmmakers.
In the past few years, Ecuadorian cinema has gained momentum, spearheaded by the national film institute CnCine. Last year, the country saw a record-breaking number of 16 film productions released in local theaters, and Ecuador is fostering a new generation of filmmakers that is presenting diverse representations of the country. It is not surprising that many films in EFFNY’s inaugural lineup are made by first time directors.
“EFFNY, like the Ecuadorian Showcase did, will bring a part of Ecuador to the Ecuadorian community living in the New York Tri-State area; but for many others, it will serve as a great introduction to the small yet diverse and unique country. We hope our films will not only entertain people, but also give them a broader understanding of this magical place”, says Christian Ponce, co-founder of Maravilla and the festival’s director.