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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




The alternative birth of the Music Video

By Robert Barry
In April 2005, less than a year before shooting their own debut film Electroma, the French electronic group Daft Punk directed themselves in a video for the song 'Robot Rock', from their third album, Human After All. The video finds Thomas Bangalter and Guy-Manuel de Homem-Christo in black leather and robot masks performing on a dark, neon-lit stage resembling somewhat the sets for the BBC's flagship pop music show Top of the Pops in the late eighties. Surrounding the stage, a plethora of small old-style cathode ray televisions show constantly modulating patterns of multicoloured diamond shapes, changing in time to the music. In keeping with the retrograde feel of the track - it features a prominent sample from American funk band Breakwater's 1980 track 'Release the Beast' - these TVs are employing a device from an oft-forgotten chapter in the story of video's long romance with pop music.
There is a kind of whig history of the music video in which early performance based clips, such as Jan & Dean's 'Surf City' on the Pacific Coast Highway and the minimalist cool of The Animals' sound-studio set for 'The House of the Rising Sun', give way to a burst of creativity which starts with The Beatles and explodes with MTV and Michael Jackson. It is a seductive narrative, and not uncoincidentally one that neatly dovetails with the rock heritage mag lists of the great classic albums. But in order to understand some of the more interesting fringe pursuits in the history of music video - not to mention seeking innovative possibilities for the future - it may be worth expanding our narrative to recognise pop videos as one node in an assemblage of audio-visual hook-ups that would include Italian operas, Looney Tunes cartoons, Busby Berkeley musicals, 'Scopitones' visual jukeboxes, and the technology employed by Daft Punk for the 'Robot Rock' video, the Atari Video Music system.
According to a story, told by former Atari games designer, Al Alcorn, to Video Games magazine in 1982, and subsequently passed into legend: when Atari first showed the Video Music machine to their distributors at Sears Roebuck & Co., the suits asked - rhetorically, one presumes - what exactly they had been smoking. By way of response, one of the Atari techs obligingly lit up a joint and offered it to them.
Consisting of a brushed metal plate and wood panel sides, the box looked innocuous enough - rather like an old stereo amplifier. But when hooked up between a sound system and a TV set it would generate a unique whirl of psychedelic patterns based on the rhythms and structures of the music played into it.
Released in 1976 to an unimpressed American audience, the Atari Video Music never took off, and within a year it was off the shelves and consigned to the dustbin of history. But the members of the band Devo must have been one of its few purchasers, for in 1979 the device generated the background for their performance in the video for 'The Day My Baby Gave Me a Surprise' from their second album, Duty Now For the Future. In swimming goggles and a short-sleeved white shirt, singer Mark Mothersbaugh yells into a Shure SM58 microphone while the Video Music's distinctive rainbow polygons jitter and jive on a black background behind him.
Lately, Mothersbaugh's music has been found on the soundtrack to a number of video games, from Crash Bandicoot and Jak and Daxter to The Sims 2. Meanwhile, the legacy of the Atari Video Music can be seen in the kind of visualisation software included as standard in computer audio players like Winamp and iTunes. Many of these programs - from 1988's Trip-a-Tron for the Atari ST to 2006's TronMe - seem to me inspired by the 1982 science fiction film, recently rebooted as Tron: Legacy, with music by Daft Punk.
While such devices remain pretty primitive, scarcely more sophisticated than the Atari original but without its vintage charm, they nonetheless hold out the promise of a future in which unique and interesting music videos with a range of user-defined specifications are created automatically by a sort of artificial intelligence every time you plug a track into the system. One possible future of the music video, then, is the end of the music video.


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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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