2012 ÉCU Film Festival opens with defiant message


The 7th ÉCU European Independent Film Festival opened last night in Paris to a packed cinema welcoming indie filmmakers from across Europe and the U.S.

As the opening ceremony began, film festival founder Scott Hillier struck a defiant tone, which was met by a loud applause:

“I would like to thank all our financial sponsors but we don’t have any.”

Hillier was highly critical of how the festival had received no financial help from the city of Paris as he welcomed international filmmakers and film spectators to watch “the best Independent films in Europe.”

In its 7th year, the ÉCU Film Festival has continued to thrive despite receiving no funding from any cultural institutions in France. Since it’s founding in 2006, thousands of filmmakers from around the world have come to show their films and share their vision with audiences in Q and A sessions. It is in this spirit that the festival has grown into a movement, and has become a year-long event, with screenings taking place in many European capitals.

This year’s opening included a selection of very high-quality and thought provoking films such as the beautifully shot and directed WW2 drama ‘Berlinoises’, by first-time French film director Rocco Labbé. The young director managed to gather the support of top French technicians who helped him make his vision come to fruition. UK director JW Griffiths’ critically acclaimed short ‘Splitscreen: A love story’ was also shown at the opening.

ECU Film Festival 2012

Anecdote: Giving recognition to a festival that has proven itself

Since the ÉCU Film Festival’s inauguration back in 2006 I have seen some of the most remarkable films that would have never otherwised surfaced or been given a chance to succeed. I’ve met incredible filmmakers who started with nothing and made stories that have educated and inspired thousands. It is a great shame that France has done so little to support this international event that highlights both French, European and international filmmakers. The core of ECU’s values are what European filmmaking is all about, and this event can become a cultural institution to promote that unity within Europe, and bring talent together to make powerful stories.

While Europe faces increased competition from around the world and austerity at home, the indie film scene continues to survive but it needs a helping hand. There is a massive demand for short films and VOD is a rising platform that is also financially rewarding.


I just ask that cultural institutions, governments, brands, and private equity take a look at the festival in a bigger light and see it’s potential as an international event. This is after all a time when short stories are changing how the world communicates and the ÉCU Film Festival is definitely here to stay.

ÉCU 2012 Jury members:

Award-winning Animation director Vicky Mather and CNN senior European Correspondent Jim Bittermann are just some of this year's jury members.

2012 ÉCU Film Festival Trailer opening

The ÉCU Film Festival runs from the 30th March to the 1st April. To find out more log on to ecufilmfestival.com

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