The first edition of MedFilm in Malta – We Love the Sea, an event born from the collaboration between Costantino Films and the MedFilm Festival in Rome, the most important festival for the diffusion of Mediterranean cinema in Italy, has successfully taken place last weekend.
The Mediterranean Sea, its preservation and the many cultures that inhabit its two shores, were the central themes of the programme of this first edition. MedFilm in Malta was hosted from 21 to 23 January 2022, at the versatile Spazju Kreattiv in Valletta and realised with the financial support of the Arts Council of Malta and the support of the Italian Cultural Institute Valletta.
The screening programme featured a total of 12 works representing Algeria, France, Italy, Palestine, Qatar, Tunisia: four feature films and four short fiction films directly from the last editions of MedFilm in Rome, and four documentaries selected by National Geographic.
In spite of the strict and newly enacted Maltese safety regulations against the pandemic, the public presence has been growing, to the delight of the organisers.
The first edition of MedFilm in Malta was inaugurated by the screening of four short films, among the most acclaimed in the panorama of new film proposals from the Mediterranean area – the Algerian La Petite by Amira-Géhanne Khalfallah, winner of the Methexis Prize as best short at MedFilm 26; the Moroccan Sukar by Ilias El Faris, winner of the Cervantes Prize as most creative short; followed by screenings of Regina, the acclaimed debut feature by Alessandro Grande starring Francesco Montanari and Ginevra Francesconi as a widowed father and his 15-year-old daughter who are faced with an unpredictable event that changes their lives again; Miss Marx by Susanna Nicchiarelli, the biopic by one of the most innovative and interesting directors on the Italian scene (in the Jury at MedFilm 26 and protagonist of a masterclass with students from Rome’s universities) dedicated to the revolutionary feminist Eleanor “Tussy” Marx, Karl’s third daughter, played by Romola Garai. Presented in competition at Venice 77, Miss Marx was awarded as film of the year at the Nastri d’Argento 2021.
The Maltese audience was also able to appreciate two films presented by MedFilm as Italian premieres during its 26th edition: the Palestinian Gaza mon amour by Arab and Tarzan Nasser and the French À l’abordage by Guillaume Brac. Gaza mon amour, winner of the Amore e Psiche Award as the best film of MedFilm 26, is a tender and delicate love story, ironic and poetic, set in a territory tormented and destroyed by bombings. The protagonists are the fisherman Issa (Salim Daw) and the seamstress Siham (Hiam Abbas), two lonely people who meet, get to know each other and fall in love when he finds an unexpected treasure in the sea: a precious phallic statue of the god Apollo.
À l’abordage, winner of the Artistic Expression Prize awarded by the MedFilm 26 Jury to the entire cast, is a delightful coming-of-age novel in the form of a summer comedy in the vein of Rohmer and Rozier: the young protagonists are Félix, his best friend Chérif and the reluctant Edouard, an unusual trio who set off from Paris to the south of France to conquer Alma, the girl Félix is very much in love with. Their journey will be full of misunderstandings and surprises.
The programme was enriched with four interesting documentaries that also fascinated the very young audience who attended the screenings on Saturday and Sunday mornings.
In this regard, and under the best auspices of the Italian institutions, present at the screenings, in particular the newly appointed Director of the IIC of Malta Serena Alessi, who appreciated the selection proposed by the festival, the organisers are already looking forward to the 2nd edition of MedFilm in Malta, which will see an increase in the presence of Maltese cultural and tourist institutions, together with the universities directly involved in the activities.
In this regard, Ginella Vocca said she was particularly satisfied “the experience in Malta was born and took place in the sign of welcome and maximum openness on the part of the city and above all of the Arts Council of Malta, which supported the event believing in its validity, evaluating it during its development with the constant presence at the screenings of the project manager. The public has always given positive feedback, confirming the interest in the films of the Mediterranean countries, which unfortunately are still not very present in commercial cinemas”.
Giovanni Costantino, who chose Malta where he has been living with his family for three years, added: “I am happy for the attention paid to the festival by the public and the Maltese institutions, with whom I am ready to collaborate on new fronts aimed at strengthening relations”.