Insights from talented Filmmakers

Scott Hillier

“Be extreme, love it or hate it. Push to the limit and follow the inner desire to say what you want”.


Scott Hillier – President of the European Independent Film Festival


SCOTT Hillier (40something) is the founder and President of the European Independent Film Festival, aka the ÉCU, the european epicentre of indie Cinema for emerging talented filmmakers. Taking place in Paris since eleven years, the Festival is a unique platform to meet talents and get your work known by experts. In addition to this great job, Scott has been working as a Director, Creative Director and Cinematographer in the industry in both fiction and non-fiction for more than two decades. He was born in Australia, but travelled around the world since he was 20 being a war cameraman for BBC. He’s been living in France for over 20 years. His experience is vast, his suggestions are precious. That’s why we’re asking him some in-depth question, sure he’ll provide some very fresh answer.



Hi Scott. Congratulations on your Festival: the ÉCU rocks and gathers Filmmakers from any side of the world. How did you start this project?



I was teaching about Filmmaking in New York and some students asked if there was a sort of Sundance Film Festival in Europe. Of course there were others, but it was a great idea to launch an independent Festival and let many films take part.




Well, it worked. How is the festival going after eleven editions?



Getting bigger an bigger. I have to say in 2016 the film selection was the best we’ve had so far and many directors were at the venue, meeting and sharing ideas. It was great. Our goal is to show the best Indie films around.



What is a common characteristic of the winners, according to your experience? What needs to be there in a film to make it to the top?



Look, the ÉCU’s winners are doing very well. The 2014 winner of the Script competition, this year was a winner Film: in the meantime it’s been recognized and well produced (talking about “The Chicken”).


Now, to make a good film you need to express something yours, something original. As a Filmmaker, you are free of doing what you fucking want. Are you making a film? Be extreme, love it or hate it. Push to the limit and follow the inner desire to say what you want. Sometimes you see some expensive Hollywood movie and you discover its soul is empty. It shouldn’t be like that. Bring your soul in.



Scott Hillier opening the ÉCU 2016 Edition



So, what is your primary suggestion to emerging Filmmakers?



Find your voice. Dare. Try to be really great. Do not try to make the perfect film. Make many films, write a lot of scripts, do not look for perfection! Just try hard and be original. There’s a sentence I love, talking about beauty and perfection. “Picasso just painted his paintings”. He was not trying to make a masterpiece. Do that. The perfect time for making the film you want is now.



Woah. Ok. Inspiring, Scott. On the other hand, what steps would you recommend to avoid?



Do not listen to anybody else. Because the work is yours.


Well, I also believe that many films are discarded because they are not technically perfect. In that case, yes, you need to look for technical perfection. Do not focus only on the story: work on the sound, the music, the details. Creativity is very important, but do not send something if you haven’t finished to work on it.



We noticed that many winner films this year were socially engaged. Is it a driver of the selection?



No. We do not necessarily search for a story with a big message. We want a great story told well. Anyway, it often happens in art production that the story is related to existing events or circumstances that affects our society. Because sensitive social and personal topics are able to trigger inspiration. There’s always been this connection between art and society.



Precious as gold, Scott. Thank you for sharing your thoughts with us. We’re sure the 2017 Festival Edition will be great! Rock hard. Long Live Indie Cinema.



Poster of the ECU 2017 Edition

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