ECHO portrays a mysteriously frozen world, consisting of empty landscapes, lonely trees, mythological creatures and an abandoned home. A world which, at first glance, seems similar to the world we all share together - yet feels uncanny. There is never a human in sight. However, you can’t shake the thought that you feel a presence. It’s breathing down your neck. Shadowing you wherever you go. The laws of nature don’t apply here. There are other forces. Bigger. And they rule mercilessly.

Told in a poetic yet confronting manner, ECHO bridges the gap between ones disconnected inner- and outside world. More specifically, the inner world of the director herself. Working her cherished combination of nature and film enabled her to finally begin to open up, acknowledge, and study the very parts of herself she fought to deny for years. These reflections resulted in ECHO: a rare and vulnerable insight into her psyche. It allows the audience to take a deep dive into the overwhelmingly complex aftermath of trauma caused by sexual abuse.

Understanding, let alone communicating, trauma feels impossible. ECHO uses a metaphorical approach and found her language in Japanese mythology. Mythological spirits, are known as ‘yokai’ and believed to shape-shift themselves into natural phenomena of our world. Their unique ability to roam both the ‘hidden’ ghost- and ‘real’ outer world, bridge the communication gap and expose the hidden dimensions of trauma: through landscapes and animals. Thus creating a world tangible enough to then finally be put into words. The raw and poignant voice-over, voiced by the director herself, starts the much needed dialogue that up until now stayed suppressed and unspoken.

  • Lieke Bezemer
  • Elyse de Waard
    Huilbui, Mousse de la Stâche
  • Sound Potion
    Sound Design
    Huilbui, Akin, Als Niets Is Wat Het Was
  • Erik van der Bijl
    De Krantenman, Stik, Pril
  • Elf Godefroy
    Color Grader
    Zand Erover, Dubbel D, Stik
  • Jordi Verrijdt
    Graphic Designer
  • Nick Tucker
  • Project Title (Original Language):
  • Project Type:
    Documentary, Experimental, Short, Student
  • Genres:
    Biography, Cinematic Essay
  • Runtime:
    6 minutes 17 seconds
  • Completion Date:
    November 24, 2020
  • Country of Origin:
  • Country of Filming:
  • Language:
    Dutch, English
  • Shooting Format:
  • Aspect Ratio:
  • Film Color:
  • First-time Filmmaker:
  • Student Project:
    Yes - University of the Arts Utrecht (HKU)
  • Dutch Film Festival (NFF)
    December 9, 2020
    World premiere
    Official Selection
  • HKU Awards - Artistic Achievement
    Finalist for the Artistic Achievement Award
  • Independent Shorts Awards

    March 21, 2021
    Honourable Mentions Woman Short
  • Chicago Indie Film Awards
    United States
    March 20, 2021
    Best Cinematograpy - Nick Tucker
  • Best Shorts Competition

    March 23, 2021
    Award of Merit Special Mention - Use of Film / Video for Social Change (student)
  • Toronto Indie Shorts

    May 24, 2021
    Best Experimental
  • Toronto Film and Scripts Awards

    May 1, 2021
    Honourable Mention Student Film & Best Cinematographer
  • Go Mental! International Short Film Festival
    May 26, 2021
    National premiere - Germany
    2nd place Short Film Documentary
  • The Lift-Off Sessions

    January 18, 2021
  • Lift-Off Online Sessions

    January 8, 2021
  • Manchester Film Festival

    March 6, 2021
  • First-Time Filmmaker Sessions

    January 25, 2021
  • Toronto International Woman Film Festival

    April 5, 2021
  • Leiden Shorts

    September 2, 2021
  • Tokyo Lift-Off Film Festival
    May 30, 2021
    Japanese premiere
Director Biography - Lieke Bezemer

At HKU (Utrecht) better known as ‘the pigeon lady’, and at UNSW (Sydney) as ‘the bin chicken chick’; it is obvious that pretty much my entire life revolves around nature - especially my work as a photographer and filmmaker.

Specializing in the roles of cinematographer and director, I developed a strong focus on storytelling, research and concept development - all of these predominantly focused on non-fictional narratives. My obsession for nature documentaries combined with an artistic background results in the urge to portrait hidden stories, whether or not nature-related, from unexpected angles. This includes experimenting with adding layering in the narrative.

My artistic visions are based on both intuition and thorough research. This translates into a critical attitude while still staying flexible and open-minded. An enormous amount of ambition to obtain the best possible results can sometimes lead to extreme decisions; like traveling to Japan for my graduation film ECHO. It is my desire to tell meaningful stories and I believe these deserve, besides lots of love and attention, such a radical approach.

As a filmmaker with a photography background, my images are characterized by photographic style: every shot, still or moving, should be aesthetically strong enough to be displayed on the wall as fine art. Although photography and film are my main tools, I do not hesitate to use other disciplines. The more suitable the communication method, the stronger the message. To nail this, I’m always looking for the optimum combination of disciplines, or ways to implement new media developments in my work.

Add Director Biography
Director Statement

ECHO isn’t about my healing process. ECHO ís my healing process. After denying my traumatic past, I dive into it head-first while making ECHO.

I started ECHO without knowing where it would end up. It was never my plan to make such a personal and confrontational film. In fact, this was the last thing I wanted. But the making of this film had nothing to do with ‘wanting’. This film was made because I had to.

I had to. Because I missed a confrontational film like ECHO in my own healing process, when I was still in denial. To acknowledge that I was raped, because this film gave me enough ‘evidence’. To research and reflect on how this incident still affects me to this day. To create a clear enough image of the overwhelmingly complex reality of trauma, to then be able to process it. To finally be able to communicate trauma in words, via image. To, from now on, be able to support others doing this as well.

Reactions to the film show that the feeling of loneliness isn’t nearly as alone as you would think. Sexual abuse is suddenly communicable – and the conversation is now being held. ECHO gave me the strength to break free from my past, and to start living - now.

Without confrontation no healing. The only way out is through