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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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Interview with Sebastián Mantilla, winner and Jury member at ÉCU

By Alejandro Contreras
Culturamas www.culturamas.es

With his first short film Diva (2004), about the life of a homosexual Muslim
trying to survive in Barcelona, Mantilla won himself the attention of
the Cannes Film Festival, which selected his work to be displayed in the
week of criticism, and also at the Sundance festival. After a couple of
short films he directed his first feature, Next to Babylon (2008) for
which he was awarded with the award for best director of ÉCU 2009, as
well as the award for best film at the Madrid International Film
Festival in 2008.

With this background it is no wonder that he was asked to participate
in ÉCU 2011 as part of the jury. Now that he is finalizing the release
of his new film, Las Guaguas (2011), the film director and screenwriter
Sebastian Mantilla offers us his views on both the roles he has
fulfilled with the European Independent Film Festival (ÉCU).

CulturamasCine: How did Sebastian Mantilla come to present his first feature at ÉCU?
Sebastian Mantilla: After touring festivals in Spain,
Colombia, Cuba and Italy, I decided to send the film to ÉCU as it
embodies the same philosophy with which the film was made – independence
and lacking restrictions when it comes to tell or present an issue that
could become controversial.

CC: When your film competed in the festival in 2009, what was your experience of Paris during the competition?
SM: First of all, the fact that the festival takes
place in Paris is an advantage. It was also a luxury when the film
became part of a rigorous selection. An important part of Paris is that
you breathe culture at every turn - it is encouraging that your work is
integrated in Paris’ cultural guide through the festival.

CC: Next to Babylon (2008) presents an uncomfortable story
about Spanish mercenaries in the conflict in Iraq. Did you think that
the film might have fewer opportunities because it touches on a
political issue that might upset some people? Did you expect you'd be
rewarded with the award for best director?

SM: The premise was not to create controversy; there is
even a sequence where a character, the photographer, "staged" a bombing
that did not make the final cut. The story centers on a love story
between a female Spanish soldier and Iraqi taxi driver. The audience at
festivals such as Cuba or Cartagena de Indias in Colombia came to wonder
at such a relationship, rather than by the implication that a mercenary
photographer was manipulating reality. To enhance the aesthetic
intricacy I put a lot of emphasis on the visual treatment, so I'm
grateful for the prize that I wasn’t expecting at all.

CC: What does it mean for you and your film to have achieved this award in 2009 at ÉCU?
SM: On a personal level it was a great recognition and it earned the film an added value.

CC: After being awarded, you became jury at the festival. How did this happen?
SM: Scott Hillier, director and founder of the
festival, contacted me earlier this year while in Ecuador shooting Las
Guaduas (2011), I was thrilled and accepted without hesitation. I hope
to be able to repeat the same experience another time.

CC: Did your perception of the festival change a lot from
being a participant to be a judge? Between the edition of ÉCU in 2009
and 2011, what aspects of the festival evolved?

SM: My perception was always the same, that of a
festival which takes initiative and takes risks in its selection of
films. When an organizing team offers you the opportunity to judge their
[official] selection, you realize that in the case of ÉCU, films have
their own seal: that of the festival.

CC: There are many films and shorts in competition. How is
the work of the jury organized to ensure the best possible assessment?

SM: The jury is divided into two groups, but curiosity
is so great that we all see most short or features, fiction and
nonfiction, then evaluate them all together. Each member of the jury has
a background different from the others; opinions are diverse and thus
enrich the debate.

CC: Thanks to Diva (2004) you were selected in Cannes and
Sundance, two festivals of reference in the film world. What steps you
think ÉCU should take to become another festival of reference like
Sundance?

SM: I sincerely believe that ÉCU does not have to follow either the steps of Cannes or of Sundance, that’s what makes it appealing.

CC: You are now finalizing Las Guaguas (2011), would you put
yourself forward to compete in ÉCU 2012? And if not competing, would you
like to come back again as a juror?

SM: We hope they like my new movie, and if not, I'm open to having the same experience as this year as a jury member, of course.

CC: What advice would you give to those filmmakers who are considering competing in ÉCU 2012?
S.M.: Send the movie! That’s it!

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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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