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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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Jessica Morris Interview

Jessica Morris is a British filmmaker who won the prize for “Best European Documentary Short” at ÉCU 2010 with her film “Reaching Rosie”. We sent her a few questions asking her about her background in film, her ÉCU experience and what she’s up to at the moment.

Where are you from?

UK

If you could describe indie cinema in your country in 3 words, what would they be?

Vibrant, original, competitive

What got you started in filmmaking?

Gate-crashing a party which happened to be hosted by some guys who worked for a late-night TV show about video games. We got talking and they gave me some work experience at their tiny production company. It went from there.

Who or what are you influenced by?

Filmmakers who craft something incredible on a shoestring budget, like Peter’s Strickland’s ‘Katalin Varga’, which is incredibly beautiful and was made for 35,000 euros.

How did you learn about ÉCU?

Someone mentioned it would be a good festival for our doc.

What got you interested in submitting your film?

The festival seemed to be aimed at people like me, who’d made films pretty much on their own.

Describe your ÉCU experience.

The team were extremely friendly, and there was a great vibe at the events. We were made to feel really welcome. It was an especially great weekend as Kara, my sister-in-law and mother of the autistic girl in the film, came along with me to share the experience.

Was your film featured elsewhere after ÉCU?

‘Reaching Rosie’ is due to be broadcast on Al Jazeera’s documentary strand, ‘Witness’, later this year. I also had 2 offers from international distributors after the festival.

What was the most valuable aspect taken from participating in the film festival circuit?

It was great to meet other indie filmmakers and hear about their experiences. Also, Scott and the judges were incredibly positive and encouraging. Winning the award gave us the confidence to say to potential broadcasters and distributors, ‘we’ve got a great film here, take a look’.

What was the greatest barrier you came up against in your filmmaking experience?

Self-belief. When you’re struggling to make a story work and you’re worried about having the right shots, it’s hard to keep motivated – especially if you’re making a film alongside a full-time job. I eventually realised there are so many ways of telling a story that if you keep at it, you’ll eventually find it.

What are you working on now?

I’m still looking for the perfect story for my first feature-length doc.

Your plans for the future?

Make a feature doc, get an Oscar nomination :-) Well, it can happen! ‘Mugabe and the White African’ was Lucy Bailey and Andrew Thompson’s first feature doc.

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Jessica Morris est une réalisatrice anglaise qui a gagné le prix pour ‘Meilleur Documentaire Européen Court’ en 2010 à ÉCU avec son film ‘Reaching Rosie’. Nous lui avons envoyé des petites questions en demandent sa formation en cinéma, son expérience ÉCU et qu’est ce qu’elle fait actuellement.

- D’où venez-vous?

- Royaume-Uni.

- Si vous pouviez décrire le cinéma indépendant dans votre pays en trois mots, ça serait quoi?

- Plein de vie, original, compétitif.

- Comment avez-vous commencé a réaliser des films?

- Après un gate-crashing à une soirée qui s’est avérée être organisée par des types qui travaillaient pour une émission de télé nocturne sur des jeux-vidéos. On a commencé à parler et ils m’ont donné du travail dans leur toute petite compagnie de production. Tout a commencé là.

- Par qui et par quoi êtes-vous influencés?

- Des réalisateurs qui font quelque chose d’incroyable avec très peu de moyens, comme ‘Katalin Varga’ de Peter Strickland qui est magnifique et qui a été réalisé qu’avec 35,000 euros.

- Comment avez-vous entendu parler de l’ÉCU?

- Quelqu’un m’en a parlé en disant que ça serait un bon festival pour notre documentaire.

- Pourquoi ça vous a intéressé de soumettre votre film?

- Le festival avait l’air d’être visé sur des gens comme moi, qui ont fait des films à peu près tout seuls.

- Racontez-nous votre expérience de l’ÉCU.

- L’équipe était très aimable et accueillante, et l’atmosphère des évènements était magnifique. On se sentait vraiment bienvenus. C’était un weekend particulièrement formidable parce que Kara, ma belle-soeur et la mère de la fille autiste dans le film, est venue avec moi pour partager cette expérience.

- Est-ce que votre film a été montré quelque part d’autre qu’ÉCU?

- ‘Reaching Rosie’ va être montré dans une série documentaire de Al Jazeera, ‘Witness’, cette année. J’ai aussi eu 2 propositions de distributeurs internationaux après le festival.

- Qu’est-ce qui a été l’effet le plus important de votre participation au festival?

- C’était formidable de rencontrer d’autres réalisateurs indépendants et de les entendre parler de leurs expériences. Et aussi, Scott et les jurys étaient très positifs et encourageant. Avoir gagné le prix nous a donné confiance de dire au présentateurs et distributeurs potentiels, ‘on a un très bon film ici, venez voir’.

- Qu’est-ce qui était le plus grand obstacle lors de votre travail de réalisation?

- Confiance en soi. Quand tu essaies de faire marcher ton histoire et tu te fais des soucis pour avoir les bons plans, c’est difficile de rester motivé, surtout si tu es en train de réaliser un film tout en travaillant à temps complet. J’ai finalement compris qu’il y a tant de façons de raconter une histoire que si tu continues à chercher, tu l’auras finalement.

- Qu’est-ce que vous faites actuellement?

- Je suis toujours à la recherche de l’histoire parfaite pour mon premier documentaire long-métrage.

- Vos plans pour l’avenir?

- Réaliser un documentaire long-métrage , gagner un Oscar :-) Mais ça peut arriver! ‘Mugabe and the White African’ était le premier documentaire long-métrage de Lucy Bailey et Andrew Thompson.

 

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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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