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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




Movie Review Throwback: Requiem for a Dream

American heavyweight filmmaker Darren Aronofsky’s surrealist, provocative and disquieting cinematic style has garnered him a highly subversive status throughout the length of his career for the agonizingly violent, austerely sombre and penetratingly frank portrayals of his subject matter imbued at the core of human life. A deep entanglement of lost happiness, distant love, tortured pain and a yearning for fame permeates Aronofsky’s second directorial feature, itself based on transgressive American writer Hubert Selby Jr.’s 1978 namesake novel – the helmer offers a sobering and heart-rending depiction of four heroin-addicts that leaves profoundly lasting traces on the viewer.


Initially released to positive critical acclaim and huge box office success, Aronofsky’s multi-perspective psychological drama, Requiem for a Dream (2000), chronicles the emotionally-charged and highly tormented experiences of numerous Coney Island-residents as they plunge into a spiral of pain, insanity and loss. The drug-bound lives of these lost characters who find themselves increasingly steeped in psychological isolation and despairing madness are introduced through a young Jared Leto’s penetratingly sensitive and harrowing performance. Harry, a desperate and troubled junkie embroiled in a toxic relationship with his similarly drug-addled, brown-tressed girlfriend, Marion (Jennifer Connelly), careens around New York with his equally drug-fixated friend, Tyrone (Marlon Wayans), with whom he aspires to succeed as a big-time drug dealer.


Rated R in the US for its highly visceral depiction of drug use and sexuality, the film is frequently pigeonholed in the same category as similar drug-centred films released during the same period – Trainspotting, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas – yet Aronofsky himself stands wary of the classification, highlighting the unique twist his film possess in introducing Harry’s mother as an unlikely addict. Ellen Burstyn delivers an astonishingly unsettling Oscar-nominated performance as Sara Goldfarb, a psychologically-deteriorating, home-bound widow glued to her TV screen with aspirations of escaping her quotidian life. Aronofsky declares, “The Harry-Tyrone- Marion story is a very traditional heroin story. But putting it side by side with Sara’s story, we suddenly say, ‘Oh, my God, what is a drug?’ […] I thought it was an idea that we hadn't seen on film and I wanted to bring it up on the screen.”

dream4Indeed, Aronofsky’s depiction of the dark underbelly of the American Dream through his characters’ downfalls starkly captures the audience’s unease, blurring the line between the archetypal drug addict and the wholesome next door neighbor, the wayward, rebellious son and the covertly neurotic, equally impressionable mother. Aronofsky doesn’t just depict the pitfalls of drug addiction; he highlights the inherent neurosis that exists in every individual, rendering them susceptible to the seemingly impossible. Certainly, the helmer accentuates the fast-paced sense of doom that incessantly haunts the foursome, with his frequent montages of short, clipped shots. Aronofsky uses over 2,000 cuts in addition to the pervasive use of split-screens and close-ups to convey the deep sense of isolation and all-engrossing passions that engulf the characters’ increasingly separated lives.


The film has garnered an astonishing string of awards since its release nearly two decades ago, with its effects reverberating in the world of cinema long after its initial release, receiving a nomination at the 2009 Austin Film Critics Award for Best Movie of the Decade. Aronofsky’s portrayal of these ultimately empty, hollow shells of their former selves, completely eschewed of their conceptions of reality, scarcely even appears to be direct cautionary tale – the rapid descent of this cross-section of society into a deep lunacy and tormenting lifelessness, speaks volumes in itself.


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About ÉCU-The European Independent Film Festival

Hillier Scott



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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