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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




‘ Red in the Water’ - director Mikel Gurrea ECU 2012 New submission Interview

By Alexander Acosta Osorio

“Legend tells the hero cut off the head of Medusa and threw it to the
water. However, the blood of that head became a red stone under the
sea. That is the origin of coral. In the early 20th century, a deaf
fisherman will bring the myth to life.”

Gurrea was born in Donostia-San Sebastian, in the Basque country. When
he was 18, he moved to Barcelona to study Audiovisual Communications at
the Pompeu Fabra University. Whilst finishing his degree, he worked as
an Assistant Director and Post Production Coordinator Jr at the
production company “Agosto 2006”. After years of experimenting with
no-budget microfilms and documentaries, Mikel wrote and directed his
first short film “Primo” in 2007, which was screened at Girona and
Figueres International Film Festivals. One year later, he directed “The
cats on the roof,” which was screened at Mecal Barcelona International
Film Festival. “Red in the water” is his latest short film, which he
wrote and directed himself.

I had the opportunity to talk to Mikel briefly about his short, film and the future.

1. Where does the inspiration for your short come from? What inspires you?
My short film Red in the Water ( is freely
inspired by the legend of Perseus & Medusa, but it was an image
described in that legend that got me obsessed: the blood of the woman
becoming stone under the water. This idea, this relationship between
essential elements (blood, water, stone) was the source which generated
the story of my film. I often get my ideas from visual impulses: an
image that I see, that I read about or which just pops into my mind,
even while I am sleeping. There is something special about that image,
something that makes it remain in my mind for weeks and makes it stand
above any other. That something special is the story, as of yet
unwritten. I take the image and I question myself about what is behind
it: that is how I get the storyline, the screenplay and also the
starting point for the visual approach of my film. If I think about it,
it makes perfect sense to me, because it is like unraveling a riddle,
discovering something that is hidden, which is essentially what
interests me both as a filmmaker and as an audience.

2. For you, what makes a film successful or a total failure? Pick your point of view.
In my opinion, a film is nothing without an audience. A great film
without screenings or viewers is dead, so the ultimate success for a
film is to get screenings for as long as it can. It is not a matter of
the number of viewers, I really think each film has its own audience
and, sometimes, they can be small, but the more it is seen, the more it
is discussed, the longer the film lives. That is the main measure of
success for a film in my opinion. Obviously, there is also fulfilling
your own goals as a filmmaker. When you have managed to tell the story
you wanted to tell, using the elements and the narrative you wanted to
use, you know you have succeeded. As a director, I am always trying to
learn and therefore encountering new techniques and experimenting is
very important to me, especially when making short films. I would hate
it if I got to the point where I knew perfectly how to work one genre or
one type of film and had to repeat it the rest of my life. The idea of
challenge is very important to me so that I can stay creative. That
challenge, that story, is what I want to offer to the audience and I
know I have succeeded when they watch it. That is one of the greatest
things about film festivals for me: you get to watch your film with an
audience in a movie theater. You can feel their reactions, whether they
are involved in the story or not. That is when I get the final answer to
your question: did I succeed?

3 Future projects after ECU? What’s next?
I have received a scholarship to study a Master course in Filmmaking at
the London Film School for two years. I will create my films there and I
will collaborate with fellow filmmakers. I never went to film school,
so that is going to be a great environment for me. Mike Leigh is curator
there and the school has got a long tradition of supporting independent
filmmaking. Besides that, I have two short film projects, one of them
is pretty advanced and the other one is in early stages. I was very
close to shooting one of them in July, but in the end the location
requirements changed and I had to postpone it. I am very patient in this
sense, and if I have to wait for the film’s benefit, I will always do
it. In the meantime, I am writing the screenplay of my first feature
film and I will start looking for production companies to back me up as
soon as I have a definitive draft. It is a huge challenge to write a
long length film as the structure and the rhythm are very different from
short films, but again, that is the challenge and I have got a story
that my whole generation can feel very related to.

in the water was recently nominated for best International short film
at In The Palace International Short Film Festival and received a
special mention for Cinematography and Production Design. Currently
Mikel lives in London and he is writing his first script for a feature

This is the newest submission to ECU 2012.

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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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