ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival proudly provides the platform for independent filmmakers to express authentic, cinematic storytelling in the most compelling ways possible.

As one of the world’s most recognised independent film festivals in the world, ÉCU embraces innovation and creativity and allows directors in competition to showcase their films to audiences who love and appreciate independent cinema. Filmmakers who are selected into ÉCU’s Official Selection join an active community of creatives who are continually pushing the boundaries of independent cinema.

Since its inception in 2006, ÉCU has forged a path for independent film and the scope of its presence has grown to a global scale with the festival often being referenced as the European equivalent of Sundance; an honour that we don’t take lightly.

“It was an honor to participate in your festival. And a very humbling experience to win against such strong competition. The quality of all the films I watched was very high - visually, and storytelling”
- Lynn Montgomery, director of AMAZING GRACE, the winner of the Best Non-European Independent Documentary 2020.

"And hopefully, when more and more festivals are showcasing diverse talent and films like you do, maybe in a few years the special Women’s awards won’t even be necessary anymore!
Thank you again for making the online festival happen and for putting in all the effort with the Q&A’s and screenings. I really liked connecting with the other filmmakers in the zoom meeting and hearing their stories gave me a bit of the “normal” festival experience which was great"
- Thessa Meijer, director of THE WALKING FISH, the winner of the Excellence in Women's Filmmaking award 2020.

"The pandemic made everything extra challenging—to say the least—but your team's positive attitude championed right through it!
It’s absolutely great that ÉCU keeps an open mind about what filmmaking is all about, and that it also includes experimental filmmakers and showcases their best work. I only hope that there will be more festivals of similar caliber to follow your example"
- Chuck George Tsioutsias, director of ONCE UPON ANOTHER, part of the Official Selection 2020.

Each year, our festival takes place in Paris during the springtime, which is not only a beautiful season but also an exciting time of year for ÉCU, because that is when we showcase roughly around 80 of the World’s very best independent films. Although ÉCU emphasises European talent, it also recognises the genius of international filmmakers with several categories allocated to non-European films.

The next ÉCU, the 16th edition, will take place on the 9th, 10th and 11th of April, 2021 in Paris, France.

ÉCU isn’t just about screening an amazing slate of films over its three-day event in Paris. There are also professional workshops led by experts in the industry, Q&A’s held with the attending filmmakers after every screening session and a chance to network with fellow filmmakers, producers, agents, industry representatives, prospective film buyers and, of course, the cinema-loving public. At ÉCU, there is a dialogue focusing on celebrating but also critiquing the world’s best indie cinema of today.

Though ÉCU’s main event IS the three-day festival in Paris each spring, there is even more! Thanks to our 50+ partner festivals, partner organisations, film centres and film commissions, ÉCU goes on an annual world tour called ÉCU-On-The-Road. This gives award-winning films (as well as many of the Official Selection films) the opportunity for their films to reach a broader, global, international audience.

ÉCU-On-The-Road showcased films in over 80 countries around the globe in 2016 to 2019 at special ÉCU mini-festivals, partner festivals, cultural institutions and film schools, including an amazing seven day special festival in São Paulo, Brazil. The event was made possible through the support of Caixa Cultural, São Paulo and was a huge success. ÉCU also held special events in Berlin (Germany), Atami (Japan) and was part of festivals in Lebanon, Italy, Russia, USA, Romania, Austria, Denmark and ot­her countries. This gives ÉCU filmmakers great exposure to audiences that they may never have reached otherwise.
Since 2006, ÉCU has helped the careers of hundreds of independent filmmakers, actors, DPs, editors, screenwriters and we are honoured to give aspiring film directors the chance for their voices to be seen and heard.

Above all, we are proud to be a filmmakers’ festival!

*PLEASE NOTE: The Official Selection announcement for films is 17th February 2021 and the announcement for Much More than a Script Competition is 17th March 2021.*

Prizes range from year to year, but are donated by partners like Beachtek, Adaptive Sound, Les Machineurs, Zacuto, SellAScript.com, Film Inquiry, Kingston, IED, InkTip, Parrot, Syrp, Red Giant, Write Brothers and others.

Films should be independent in spirit and original in perspective. Open to all films made with less than 50% participation by a major studio or television broadcaster. Films may be submitted in any language, however if the film is NOT in English, it must have English subtitles. The films in English, selected to be screened at the festival, must have French subtitles. Please note that French subtitles are only required if the film gets into the Official Selection. Appropriate subtitles are required to ensure the best screening for our audience.

A synopsis of no more than 180 characters, in English and French, a screenshot from the film and a short director's biography also in English and French are requested upon submission. The films must be completed since 1st September, 2019.

Overall Rating
  • Brian Metcalf

    An amazing experience, like the sundance of indie films in europe
    Happy i submitted one of my BEST FOR FESTS, my curated line up for the circuit https://www.filmfestivals.com/blog/editor/films_we_curate_for_festivals

    July 2020
  • Peter Bozadjiev

    I find the European Independent Film Festival, created and raised by Scott Hillier, of true importance for the creation of an independent, multi-cultural, artistic and cinematic society that is somehow responsible for expressing and working on classical and new themes, showing and even solving global world problems with an only one tool – the boundless cinematic language. The power and freedom of vision.

    The team behind ECU Film Festival has overcome the challenge of the new decade, the corona virus pandemic to support the Indecent cinematic soul and аll the creators in this globally uneasy period. It takes bravery and dedication to continue such a mission in such a time.
    When many, major institutions stopped guarding the independent sector, ECU continued to guard and support it. Encouraging independent creators and their artistic messages.

    I have to thank, Scott Hillier, for the chance, for the interest and for the incredible support that he gave to me.

    Thank you to the international jury and the team behind the European Film Festival for highlighting “Shibil” through the award for BEST EUROPEAN DRAMA and its universal, complex theme, of love, which is in absolute importance for our existing. Today and tomorrow.

    Nikola Bozadzhiev

    May 2020
  • pablo Robertson de Unamuno

    Great festival, amazing that it took place during the pandemic.
    Scott was very friendly and down to earth.

    May 2020
  • Tianyu Zhou

    Thank you for your recognition of our "south wind"

    This is a very good film festival

    May 2020
  • Jan Philip Baldus

    ÈCU is a really wonderful festival run by great and very passionate people. The communication was flawless, and even though the festival couldn't take place in Paris because of Covid-19, they spontaneously organised an online festival with Q&A sessions and an awards ceremony. I will for sure submit all my future works so I'll have the chance to finally meet all these people in person. Keep up the good work!

    May 2020