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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 14th edition of ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival will take place in Paris, France in 5th, 6th and 7th of April, 2019.
 
For more details regarding the festival, please visit our website at www.ecufilmfestival.com

 

 


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Interview with Rita Broka winner of Best European Independent Documentary with her film "M Ferma"

ÉCU – The European Independent Film Festival 2012 hosted its 7th edition, March 30th through April 1st where “M Farm” won Best European Documentary.

Rita Broka worked as a journalist for an evening news programme called “Panorama,” a 90′s patriotic talkshow in Latvia.  Now she feels she has fully become a “film person.” This was especially felt after the National Film Centre in Latvia raised hope and mentioned they would honor several films  produced by Broka.

The meaning behind “M Farm” …

“It is a conflict between common people and the Custody Court, which exists in any country where social workers believe they govern the infinite truth,” Broka explains surely.

“Through my work experience at the TV station and the permission of Vineta, the leading character in the film, I was presented with the chance to film the story,” continues the director.

“I was working on a weekly programme at the Children Crisis Center when I came across a horrifying story going on in a small, lovely village in Latvia. A grandmother named Dangira had sexually abused her grand daughter with a fellow employee and boyfriend, Thadeus.

Broka commented, “As usual, I had a feeling – an intuition. I was curious to find out where the mother of this little girl had disappeared.”

Broka did some research and discovered that fifty percent of women who had postpartum depression, like Vineta, spent hours and hours crying. Her grandmother, who had abused her, sent her to a psychiatric treatment center. However, the doctors said that is was a one time phenomenon and that she was fully capable of raising her own child.

“Crimes like these – crimes within a family – are the worst. This is because nobody pays attention. Everyone pretends that everything is ok. They act as if it happens only in Austria, a case where a father kept his daughter locked away,” continues Broka.

In England, for instance, 48,000 children chose to leave their homes instead of staying with parents because of their family situation. A family, which is supposed to be a place of heart warmth and protection, is not always provided the latter. In addition, one of the reasons they defined Vineta as “insane” was the fact that she was not able to survive with 30 lats – the equivalent of around 50 euros a month!”

What are your thoughts or feelings while watching “M Farm” or “Monster Farm”?

I don’t watch my films. I make them and never come back to them again.

Did your film go as planned?

Actually, I had a different idea how to end the film, but a last minute phone call changed everything. It was Vineta that called. She mentioned that was going move in and live with the father of her children. But, she also explained that she had found out that he was in love with another woman. This time he had fallen for a 65-year-old woman who feed him well, taught him not to swear, gave him piano lessons, and loved him a lot apparently! So, nothing went as planned.

The English subtitles on your film are done by a popular TV and radio journalist in Latvia named Karlis Streips?

Yes. He was the third employee to do the job because the other two could not manage due to the “specific” language used.

What kind of reaction do you expect from your audience after watching your film?

Let’s see… The film has only ten percent of all the raw material. Otherwise, the storyline would not be the same. It could have gone in any number of directions.  The film could have been a story about how people were locked in the farm and the farm doors were blocked by tractors and they could not escape, or how a black car followed us during filming, or how I would never want to buy milk from big companies knowing how the milk barrels are being washed.

Are you working on any projects now?

Currently I am working on two films. The first one is called “Real Father” and will be about the strongest mafia in Europe right now. It will be a story where a couple gets married, have a baby, and then the baby becomes a victim of a crime. There is a witness and the child becomes a target.

And the other film is called “Dangerous Age” and depicts a troublesome teenage period. Broka says that the second film will be done in collaboration with her 15-year-old daughter, Kristine. Both attended last weeks festival and were thrilled by their achievement.

How would you describe the independent films industry in Latvia?

If you want to do make a film, all you have to do is to grab a camera, film, and take part in something. Nobody is stopping you! You are free to express yourself. However, finances are not always available.

“M Farm” has been sponsored by the Culture Capital Foundation of Latvia and the National Film Centre of Latvia, the first a governmental institution and the second a private company, “ADverts tipografija,”  and Ivan Svans, my long term business partner.

 

 

To read the article in French click on the link below:

http://www.ecufilmfestival.com/fr/2012/04/m-farm-best-european-independent-documentary-at-ecu-2012/ 

 

 

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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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