Fabien Ecochard @fabienecochard is a talented photographer and a movie-maker. His video NICELY this summer dedicated to Nice was much more than a nice video about Nice.

It was like a breath of a fresh air, the ray of the Sun giving us the most important – the hope for better.

It is about the most important and simple moments of daily life that make us fall in love with this city, that make us fall in love with our life.

He has collected the concentration of love that city has and has spread it all over the world.

Sometimes simple smile to a stranger, talk by the Sea and great music makes our moment beautiful and inspire us to master our skills in this art-de-vivre (Art of Life).

It definitely has magic touch because every time you watch it, the video gives you relief as a gift we all need so much nowadays.

We would like to thank Fabien and that’s why we are sharing the story behind just before Christmas and invite you to rewatch it several times!

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- What is your word for Nice?

F: It is a complicated question, but according to me, Nice is a meeting point. Between people (French, Italians, Russians, etc), between natural elements (the sea/mountains), between cultures (a strong local identity that meets international influences).

I wanted to be part of it, as a focal point.

- What do you think of local people in Nice? How are they different from others?

F: Being honest, I can’t say I know enough people from other close villages to make a comparison but I can feel that people of Nice are different from any others, From the beginning I have noticed that they are very attached to their city being so much proud of it.

People here are true Nissart before being Niçois that is probably сaused by the history of the city. The old town is a perfect illustration : even though it is decorated by narrow Italian-style streets, every street name has its second name (or the first one !), which is a nissart version.

Even the professional football team is welcomed with the unofficial anthem of the city : Nissa la bella.

- What is the positive impact they make?

F: I was impressed by the new generation of the local people: nowadays being born in Nice, they go to the big cities, learn there and bring the best back to their city and they influence it working on its development. For example, the trendy face of Nice is the area which is compared to Parisian "Le Marais": it is loved by the locals and they keep it very stylish and modern bringing lots of good vibes.

- There are many people move to Nice who came here once and left fallen in love. Do they have something in common?

F : I think we have all our reasons. As for me, I think that the city has found the right balance between tradition and modernity. You can wander in the old town and a few streets futher have fun in the lively and fast-moving area of the port. The sea is just in front of you, the mountains embrace you from the back, what else could you ask for?!

- Your happiest memory in Nice during last year…

It’s easy: my second son was born in Nice this year. Now I am deeply connected to the city.

- How did you start making videos? What is their main purpose? Why does it inspire you?

F: I've started doing videography with a photography background experience.

I apply the same approach as I used to do for taking pictures and looking for aesthetic, focusing on the people in the environment.

Film-making enables much more opportunities allowing to represent narrative approach: there is a place for music which is so important to capture and reflect the atmosphere!

Sometimes it feels that a scene should remain a still image to stire the imagination. And sometimes I really feel like it should be brought to life as a part of the video. I use the same approach but different ways to tell a story!

- Shooting a video is about watching scenes of life… What do you like to watch the most?

F: I just like to shoot people, especially everyday life everywhere and capture the moments. In my view, it is about the people that make the soul of a city, not the other way round.

- Your video for Nice was so much right on spot: the world was starving for love and light from Nice as much as never. It is full of life celebrating life in a very natural manner – as people do that in Nice.

It works as a teleport into every day life of Nice: you feel yourself there, in the middle of those streets, not just looking at the people you show but becoming that guy who is repainting Beau Rivage tablet, the girl looking at the city from above at Le Chateau or the boy throwing the stones into the water … And being transferred there it doesn’t feel like you are visiting Nice, you live there this three minutes – it’s incredible! Did you plan to get this effect?

F: This is the best compliment you could make. I had a precise idea of the tone and feel I wanted to create. Focusing on everyday people and «true» Niçois was my way to create an immersive experience, the conversation between people and the city.

- What exactly does the name NICELY come from?

F: This title came naturally: it reflects the overall spirit of the film. I wanted to highlight the good living and easy-going Niçois way of life.

- How have you got this idea to make it?

F: I know Nice for almost 15 years already coming here for holidays, but I only live here since last year. As I wanted to « feel » the spirit of the city, I started wandering in the streets, looking for everyday life moments and local people. In some way, this short film was an artistic translation of my personal effort to integrate and assimilate my new hometown.

- How much time did it take? Did people notice you? How did they react?

F: The footages were being taken during the last 2 years. Shooting Nicely was a mix of planning and improvisation. I had some kind of a roadmap to cover different iconic and traditional actions at different time of the year. But I also left a place for spontaneous and unexpected. I walked a lot (and was also a permanent client of Velo Bleu), from early in the morning until the end of the day !

I try to be as invisible as possible to shoot candid scenes but sometimes it was not easy, with a quite big camera. When someone noticed me, I used a big smile which remains an effective way to get their collaboration. All I can say is that I had zero problem with my shooting in Nice. There are countries where street photography is forbidden or badly perceived, that was definitely not the case here.

- What was the discovery of this project?

F: The fact it was very much appreciated by the people. It was even broadcasted on the Allianz Riviera screens during the commemoration ceremony for the victims of July 14th, just before the OGC Nice first match of the season.

That is how this film made me feel appreciated and accepted by the city and local people not being a guest anymore. I realized that after you contribute, you become the part of the story.

- The film talks much deeper than any words talking directly to people’s hearts. But maybe you have any message to people you had you could formulate?

What would you like this video to inspire people to do?

F: Obviously, the tragedy of July gave a whole new resonance to my film. I received very warm and touching testimonies of people, currently living in Nice or having spent their youth in Nice, saying « thank you for reminding me why I love this city » or « where I come from ». It was a very intense human experience to live.

Media usually keeps the focus on conflicts making people stand against people, but all the comments I received were full of positive energy. I would also advise to stop being overwhelmed by media and go out on the streets of this gorgeous city.

So keep being strong and positive, it’s all about living together.