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ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival


ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival is dedicated to the discovery and advancement of the very best independent films from around the world. We are a festival who believes in our independent filmmakers and their artistic talents. ÉCU proudly provides a unique platform that brings together diverse audiences who are hungry for something other than major studio productions and original and innovative filmmakers. 

 
The 16th edition of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival will take place on 9th-11th April 2021. Now open for submissions!

 

 

 

For more details regarding the festival, please visit our website at www.ecufilmfestival.com

 

 


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Au Revoir Rhiannon Hobbins…

This month we say au revoir to Rhiannon Hobbins, ÉCU’s Festival Manager for the past four years. Rhiannon was the ultimate resource for all that is ÉCU but she is moving on to her next adventure back in her home country of Australia. It’s hard to express how much she will be missed but her influence will be everlasting as the festival builds upon the fabulous foundations that she put in place.

So, without further ado Rhiannon tells us in her own words how the last four years has changed her life – and her good friend and ÉCU’s President, Scott Hillier, tell us how she’s changed his.

When you first arrived on the ÉCU doorstep, all bright-eyed and bushy tailed, what was your plan? Where you expecting to stay as long as you did? Did you have any idea of the whirlwind that was about to sweep you away?

One of my friends from Sydney University was an intern at the first edition of the festival in 2006. When I mentioned that I was moving to Paris, she suggested that I get in touch with Scott Hillier. “He runs The European Independent Film Festival and he is also Australian,” she said. So I tracked him down and arranged an interview for an internship.

I vividly remember my first day in Paris. I bolted across town worried that I would be late for the interview. I arrived all hot and sweaty but I was on time. Scott offered me an internship and that day was the start of one hell of an adventure.

I was only planning on staying for a couple of months. But I soon started working as the Event Coordinator at the film festival and Producer at our television and film production company, Zs2 Creative. So I decided to stay in Paris. Looking back now on the last four years, I can definitely say it has been an incredible experience!

Tell us about your first festival experience? How did it go: the good, the bad? How did you use that experience to prepare for the next festival?

The lead-up to ÉCU 2008 was a particularly difficult period. Jean-Marie Allin, the Festival Manager, was diagnosed with cancer in January 2008, the financial crisis was in full swing and Marina Torres, one of our amazing interns, had to go home to Brazil one month before the festival as her father had been in a car crash.

The festival felt like an out of control train!

I remember lying in the couch at the office, feeling terribly ill, with our fabulous team of interns surrounding me. “Are you OK?” they all asked. “I don’t know what’s wrong with me,” I said, “I think I’m sick.” I went to the doctor who told me it was all due to the stress!

But when the weekend arrived, everything came together, largely thanks to our exceptional festival team, which was made up entirely of dedicated volunteers.

My personal festival highlight was the truly inspirational Australian documentary “My Home, Your War” directed by Kylie Grey. And no it wasn’t my favourite because it was an Australian film! I was inspired. Kylie travelled to Iraq and documented the three-year struggle of a Sunni family during the war. After the screening, Kylie received a standing ovation and it was great to see how eager the audience was to meet her, talk to her, and have all their questions answered.

So in the end the festival was a great success. Sure, there were lots of things we could have done better. But it was a learning experience that helped us to be better prepared for future editions of the festival.

What makes this festival different? What was your goal with the festival? How has the festival progressed in your view?

The European Independent Film Festival is different because it is THE place to come and discover Europe’s best indie films. There are hundreds of national film festivals with a focus on independent film but ÉCU is different because we operate on a pan-European level.

Since the festival’s inception, our goal has been to bring attention to the many cinematic gems made in Europe today by the hundreds of talented, but under funded, independent filmmakers. And to keep alive the creativeness and free spiritedness that is synonymous with independent filmmaking.

I am proud to say that after years of dreaming, dedication, sweat, tears and plenty of hard work, the festival is now it’s sixth year and has firmly established itself on the global film festival circuit as being at the crux of the European independent filmmaking community.

The festival’s success is largely due to our exceptional team. Every year we attract a dedicated team of volunteers from all over the World and from all walks of life and without them the festival wouldn’t be where it is today. A big thank you to all of the ÉCU teams!

I would also like to thank G-Technology by Hitachi for supporting the European independent filmmaking community, believing in the festival’s vision and being a truly supportive and collaborative partner!

The ÉCU team has watched you (and thanks a million times over) as you’ve poured four years of experience onto paper creating the ÉCU Festival Manual. How did it feel to do this?

Like someone had put my head in a vice and was trying to squeeze everything they possibly could out of it! Haha :-)

It was very important to me that I write everything down – from the systems, to the retro planning, to the workflows, the contacts and all the templates – for every area of the festival so that the new team can carry on working with the foundation that has already been build and concentrate and instead on bringing new energy and fresh ideas to the table.

But it also made me feel nostalgic and sad to say goodbye to the festival. It’s true that I did shed a tear or two!

What have you gained from working at ÉCU?

I think one of the most important things I have learnt during my last four years at the film festival is that ‘nothing is impossible’. You can make anything happen with a positive attitude, confidence, determination and a bucket load of hard work.

What are your plans once you leave the festival? How has working for ÉCU helped you with making this next step?

I’m moving back home to Sydney to pursue a career in television news and current affairs. My last four years in Paris have been an incredible learning experience and I believe it has given me a rock-solid foundation from which I will be able to launch my future adventures.

And now a word from good friend and festival President, Scott Hilllier:

Rhi has been my right hand, chief ‘Fount of Knowledge’ and leader of all things good and great for ÉCU during the last four years. It’s hard to think of trying to manage this hydra-headed beast without her, but we will do our best!

There is no doubt that without her dedication, enthusiasm, indomitable spirit and damn hard work the festival would not be where it is today – at the forefront of European independent cinema. And really, who will be able to forget that unmistakable burst of machine-gun-loud laughter which conveyed total, unbridled joy that has kept us company for these last few years :)

We’ll miss you Rhi-Rhi.

Scott and The ÉCU crew!

 ///

 

Ce mois-ci nous disons au revoir à Rhiannon Hobbins . Festival Manager pour les quatre dernières années Rhiannon est devenu resoucre ultime pour tout ce qui est ECU. Mais cette année , elle est de passer à sa prochaine aventure dans son pays d’origine de l’Australie . Il n’existe aucun moyen d’exprimer à quel point elle nous manquera , mais son influence sera éternelle .

Rhiannon nous dit dans ses comment les quatre dernièresannées a changé sa vie.

Quand vous êtes arrivée à ÉCU , jeune et enthousiaste, quels étaient vos plans? Vous attendiez-vous à rester si longtemps ? Aviez-vous la moindre idée de l’aventure dans laquelle vous vous embarquiez ?

Une de mes amies de l’université de Sydney était stagiaire lors du premier festival en 2006. Quand je lui ai parlé d’aller vivre à Paris, elle m’a suggérée de contacter Scott Hillier. « C’est lui qui a fondé le Festival européen du film indépendant, en plus il est australien ! » M’a-t’elle dit. Je lui ai donc téléphoné et lui ai demandé un interview en vue d’un stage.

Je me souviens de façon frappante de mon premier jour à Paris. J’ai traversé Paris en courant, craignant d’arriver en retard à l’interview. Je suis arrivée en nage mais à l’heure. Scott m’a offert un stage et à partir de ce moment-là a commencer une fabuleuse aventure.

J’avais l’intention de ne rester que quelques mois mais très bientôt je suis devenue la coordinatrice pour le festival et productrice pour notre compagnie de production Zs2Creative. J’ai donc décidé de rester à Paris. Quand je me remémore ces quatre dernières années, je peux définitivement dire que cela fût une incroyable expérience.

Racontez-nous l’expérience de votre premier festival ? Comment cela s’est-il passé ? Comment avez-vous utilisé cette première expérience pour aborder le festival suivant ?

La préparation du ÉCU 2008 a été particulièrement difficile. En janvier, Jean-Marie Allin, le directeur du festival a appris qu’il avait un cancer, nous étions en crise financière et Marina Torres, notre merveilleuse stagiaire a du renter au Brésil un mois avant le festival son père ayant eu un accident de voiture.

Le festival était comme un train dont on a perdu le contrôle.

Je me rappelle être couchée sur le canapé du bureau, me sentant malade, notre merveilleuse équipe de bénévoles m’entourant. « Êtes-vous OK ? » demandaient-t-elles. « je ne sais pas ce qui m’arrive, je pense que je suis malade ». J’ai vu un médecin qui m’a dit que tout cela était le résultat du stress !

Mais quand le jour du festival est arrivé tout s’est mis en place, principalement grâce à une équipe exceptionnelle de bénévoles.

Mon souvenir le plus marquant du festival est le documentaire australien « Home, Your War » dirigé par Kylie Grey. Et ce n’est pas parce que c’est un film australien ! Kylie a voyagé en Irak et pendant trois ans, a filmé la vie d’une famille sunnite pendant la guerre. Après la projection Kylie reçu des applaudissements sans fin et les spectateurs voulaient la rencontrer, lui parler et lui poser des questions.

Donc le festival 2008 fut un grand succès. Bien sur nous aurions pu faire mieux, mais ce fut définitivement une bonne expérience qui nous a préparé pour les éditions suivantes du festival.

En quoi ÉCU est-il différent des autres festivals? Quel est le but de ÉCU ? Comment a-t-il progressé ?

Le festival ÉCU est différent parce que c’est L’ENDROIT ou l’on peut découvrir les meilleurs films indépendants européens. Il y a des centaines de festivals nationaux mais ÉCU est différent car nous opérons au niveau de l’Europe entière.

Depuis la création du festival notre goal a été de faire découvrir les nombreuses perles créées en Europe de nos jours par des centaines de réalisateurs indépendants talentueux, mais disposant de fonds insuffisants. Ainsi que d’encourager l’imagination et innovation qui est synonyme du cinéma indépendant.

Je suis fière de dire qu’après des années de rêve, dévouement, sueur, larmes et énormément de travail, le festival est maintenant dans sa sixième année et est solidement établi dans le monde des festivals comme étant au cœur de la communauté du cinéma indépendant européen.

Le succès du festival est du largement a notre équipe exceptionnelle. Chaque année nous attirons un groupe de bénévoles venant du monde entier et de tous milieux sociaux, sans eux le festival ne serait pas ce qu’il est aujourd’hui. Un grand merci à tous les ÉCU bénévoles !

Je voudrai aussi remercier G-Technology by Hitachi pour avoir sponsoriser la communauté du cinéma indépendant européen, pour avoir cru à la vision du festival et pour avoir créer un partenariat de vrai soutien et collaboration.

Avant de partir vous avez créé sur papier le manuel du festival. A quoi pensiez-vous quand vous y travailliez ?

Comme si quelqu’un avait mis ma tête dans un étau et essayait d’en extraire le plus possible !!! Ha ha

Pour moi il est très important de tout écrire: les systèmes, le retro planning, les workflows, les contacts et les templates pour chaque facette du festival de manière à ce que la nouvelle équipe puisse travailler sur de bonnes bases et concentrer son énergie sur de nouvelles idées.

Mais en même temps dire au revoir au festival m’a rendu nostalgique. Il est vrai que j’ai versé une larme ou deux !

Qu’avez-vous appris en travaillant pour ÉCU ?

La chose la plus importante que j’ai apprise pendant mes quatre années avec le festival est “Rien n’est impossible”. Avec une attitude positive de la détermination et beaucoup de travail on peut tout faire.

Quel sont vos plans pour le futur ? En quoi travailler pour ÉCU vous aidera pour votre prochaine étape ?

Je retourne vivre à Sydney pour poursuivre une carrière dans la télévision, le journalisme d’actualité. Mes quatre dernières années à Paris m’ont beaucoup appris et m’ont donné de très bonnes bases qui m’aideront à me lancer dans mes prochaines aventures.

 

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About ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival

Hillier Scott
(ECU)

 

 

Scott Hillier, Founder and President of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival
 
Scott Hillier is a director, cinematographer, and screenwriter, based in Paris, France. In the last 20 years, Hillier has gained international recognition from his strong and incredible cinematography, editing, writing, producing and directing portfolio in both the television and film industries.  
 
Scott began his career in the television industry in Australia. In 1988, he moved to London getting a job with the BBC who then set him to Baghdad. This opportunity led him to 10 years of traveling around world for the BBC, mainly in war zones like Somalia, Bosnia, Tchetcheynia, Kashmir, and Lebanon. After a near fatal encounter with a Russian bomber in Tchechnyia, Hillier gave up his war coverage and began in a new direction. 
 

He moved to New York City in 1998.  He directed and photographed eight one-hour documentaries for National Geographic and The Discovery Channel. Based on his war knowledge and experience, Hillier wrote and directed a short film titled, “Behind the Eyes of War!" The film was awarded “Best Short Dramatic Film” at the New York Independent Film and TV Festival in 1999. From that he served as Supervising Producer and Director for the critically acclaimed CBS 42 part reality series, "The Bravest” in 2002 and wrote and directed a stage play called, "Deadman’s Mai l," which ran at Le Théâtre du Moulin de la Galette in Paris during the summer of 2004. He then became the Director of Photography on a documentary titled, “Twin Towers." This was yet another life changing experience for Hillier. The riveting documentary won an Academy Award for "Best Documentary Short Subject" in 2003. In 2004, Hillier changed continents again, spending three months in Ethiopia. He produced “Worlds Apart,” a pilot for ABC America / True Entertainment / Endemol. As you can see, Hillier was and is always in constant movement and enjoys working in a number of diverse creative areas including documentaries, music videos, commercials, feature and short films.

 
Scott studied film at New York University and The London Film and Television School. He also studied literary non-fiction writing at Columbia University. Hillier's regular clients include the BBC, Microsoft, ABC, PBS and National Geographic. Between filming assignments, he used to teach film, a Masters Degree course in Screenwriting at the Eicar International Film School in Paris, France and journalism at the Formation des Journalistes Français in Paris, France. 
 

 


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