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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 next and 8th edition of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival will be held in Paris, France in the early spring of 2013.
For more details regarding the festival, please visit our website at www.ecufilmfestival.com.
ÉCU AT THE TORONTO INTERNATIONAL FILM FESTIVAL
The Toronto International Film Festival (TIFF) is North America’s most favoured 11 days for independent film. For 36 years, TIFF has provided an audience driven environment where independent filmmakers can premiere their work, and Canadian film has the opportunity to be presented on an international level.
Film festivals and Canada were on my mind as I waited to have an interview with Manon Briand, a Quebecois director whose new feature film “Liverpool” was showing in TIFF’s ‘Special Presentation’ category.
Being the Canadian percentage of the ÉCU team, I was eager to talk to an influential Francophone about the importance of festivals and what exactly defines Canadian film.
Manon Briand has been an important member of Canadian filmmaking since 1998, a result from her first feature length film 2 secondes. Born in Baie-Comeau Quebec, Briand described to me the problem that comes with labeling a film as Canadian.
“You have to look at Canadian film as two separate entities, the Canadians and the Quebecois. There is never any crossover of the two and each group has problems with bringing Canadian cinema onto the international scene. Both problems having to do with language.”
The independent Anglophone entity, while producing more films yearly than French speaking Canada, consistently battles with the filmmaking powerhouse of the United States. Briand explained further,
“English Canada doesn’t have a pool of stars to build a culture of filmmaking. As soon as actors become a little well known they disappear to L.A. So they’re consistently trying to create films with unknown people while competing on the same level (regarding language) as the Americans. It gets forgotten that one is Canadian due to the indistinguishable English. Those Canadian figures that have made a career in the United States, like David Cronenberg, often bring their influence back home but it still remains a difficult situation for the Anglophones. ”
While the Francophones have a star system based on a thriving community of artists, they experience a difficulty with showing their films outside of Canada based on the uniqueness of their French language.
“It is just as impossible for a Quebecois film to reach other French markets where we are considered a different language. In order for a Quebecois film to be accepted by a distributor in France, actors would need to change their accent and the script would have to be revamped altogether. But that would make it an entirely different film. It’s not really the French audience that doesn’t like the differences but the distributors who are old fashioned in accepting our ancient language. So we rarely go to France. It is easier to find a distributor in other French speaking markets.”
This is the main reason why TIFF is so important to Canadian film. An international festival not only gets rid of these language and distributor problems but also brings the Anglophone and Francophone film of Canada together.
“This is the fist time Liverpool is being shown outside of Quebec. It’s good to have a response from people outside of Montreal, where there is often preconceived notions of actors as we’re such a small community.”
Manon has becoming to TIFF since its very first years. She has not experienced any drawbacks with the festival’s growing popularity but simply feels like “it’s coming home to your brother or sister who has suddenly become this big star”.
Liverpool was received to a mainly Anglophone audience with great success. A comedic romance that will have you at the edge of your seat in both suspense and laughter, Liverpool manages to provide its audience with a love story wrapped up in modern day World problems.
So although film from a nation with a mosaic of cultures and two official languages may be difficult to define, we can rely on Canadian film to consistently gives us unique stories that endeavor to make us think differently.
By Catherine Chapman
About ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival
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.
Hillier 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.
Hillier 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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