The European Independent Film Festival

ÉCU // ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival

16th edition

Apr 09 - Apr 11, 2022
Paris, France

Open Call Open to Public Competitive Market Special Fees

Festival type Real Venue Festival
Types of films Animation, Docu-feature, Documentary, Experimental, Music video, Narrative fiction, Student
Film length Full length, Mid-length, Short

Mission / description Cinema is an art form that needs to be simultaneously nourished and challenged and ÉCU - The European Independent Film Festival provides the perfect arena for indie filmmakers to express authentic cinematic storytelling in the most compelling ways possible. As one the World’s truly stand out independent film festivals, ÉCU embraces innovation and creativity and allows directors in competition to showcase their films to audiences who appreciate and love independent cinema. Filmmakers who are selected into ÉCU’s Official Selection join an active community of creatives who continually push the boundaries of indie cinema.

'I'm so grateful and honoured... Your festival is an amazing opportunity to celebrate independent films and filmmakers' - Iris Zaki, director of 'WOMEN IN SINK', the winner of the Best European Independent Documentary 2016.

"Thank you very much for selection our shortmovie Has#tag at the ECU Film festival. 
We had a wonderful evening on the openingnight on Friday! And yes: also the party was great. 
Keep on going with the good and independent vibes! 
I really love what you guys do!
- Kevin Hoed, director of Has#tag, winner of Best Director award at ÉCU 2018"

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.

Spring is not only a fabulous time for Paris but an exciting time for ÉCU because that is when we showcase roughly around 100 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 April 2021.

ÉCU isn’t just all about screening an amazing slate of films over its three-day event in Paris in April. 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 continual dialogue celebrating and 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 over 50 partner festivals, partner organizations, film centres and film commissions, ÉCU’s goes on an annual world tour called ÉCU-On-The-Road, which gives award-winning films (as well as many of the Official Selection films) the opportunity to have their films screened to a broader, global audience. ÉCU-On-The-Road showcased films in over 80 countries around the globe in 2018 - 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), Cannes (France) 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.

Since 2006, ÉCU has helped the careers of literally hundreds of independent filmmakers, actors, DPs, editors, screenwriters and is honoured to be firmly established as one of the World’s eminent indie film festivals.

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

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Festival website

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Class Founded: 2006
Festival category: B (international relevance, international player)
Dates Open call: May 14, 2020

Early bird deadline: Nov 22, 2020
Regular deadline: Dec 20, 2020
Late deadline: Jan 17, 2021

Notification date: Feb 17, 2021

Favorite this festival or add it to one of your lists to be alerted about open call, deadlines and notification date.
Fees Fees range from 18.30 to 109.80 EUR (0.00 to 0.00 USD) . See submission categories for details about fees.
Awards Total prize money: 0.00 USD
Other prizes: Prizes range from year to year, but are donated by partners.
General rules CATEGORIES

- Dramatic Feature Film
- Dramatic Short Film
- Documentary Film
- Animated Film
- Experimental Film
- Music Video
- Comedy Film

- Dramatic Feature Film
- Dramatic Short Film
- Documentary Film

- Student Film
- Feature Script Competition
- Short Script Competition
- Arab Special Selection

Conditions For Entry
Films must have been completed since September 1st, 2019. To be eligible for the short film competitions films must be 30 minutes or less. Films can only be accepted if no more than 50% of the funding came from a studio or 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 required if the film gets into the Official Selection. Appropriate subtitles are required to ensure the best screening for our audience.

Screening formats & Deadlines
To enable ÉCU’s submission judges to view your films they need to be in a digital format. Most of our submission platforms enable filmmakers to upload their films directly to them. If you choose a different submission method, please send us a link to an online viewing site. In the case of being selected for the Official Selection, a DCP and HighRes H264 1920×1080 a backup copy will be required.

Essential Requirements
* Synopsis in English & French of no more than 100 words
* Brief director biography in English and French
* A photo of director
* 2 digital stills from film (High Resolution)

All this plus contact telephone number, return address and photos should be emailed to:

If selected, DCP copies must arrive at the festival by date to be confirmed or, by prior arrangement, films may be delivered by hand by the filmmaker. Please mark the aspect ratio of the film clearly on the can / box of your screening copy. The festival will only pay for the return shipping of films. Films will be returned during the week following the close of the festival. By prior arrangement, prints can be forwarded to another festival immediately after ÉCU. Attending filmmakers must collect their films directly from the festival.

The entrant agrees that up to three minutes of their film may be used by The European Independent Festival in promotional activities including screening a clip on television and on the festival’s website. Cinema press may also be allowed a preview of screening copies in order to generate publicity.

Acceptance of these regulations implies that you will abide by them in your dealings with the festival and also that you are legally entitled to submit this film for consideration. All music used in films in whatever category submitted must have permission from the writers or owners of that particular piece of music writing. You are also obliged to deliver a screening copy of the film to the festival office by the required date, should the film be selected.

Should your film be selected as part of ÉCU 2020′s Official Selection we will need you to sign a release form and should you attend the festival you consent to be filmed by the ÉCU film crews and will allow that footage to be used in post‐festival promotional activities.

Filmmaker has to allow the European Independent Film Festival to screen his/her film in the public arena in Paris during the weekend of the April 24th to 26th 2020. The filmmaker has to acknowledge that all location, acting and branding rights are his/her to grant to the The European Independent Film Festival for the duration of the festival and during the festivals’ promotion phase.