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WATCH: Team Of Maltese Youths Produce Coming Of Age Movie Celebrating Diversity

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A group of local media and theatre students have teamed up over the past year to produce a film project called Ben.

Gianluca Mifsud, Matthew Cassar, Alex Weenink, Raquel Theuma and Brandon Thearle are among the cast of over fifteen youths who have worked together to come up with, produce, edit, direct, design, compose and write this short movie.

The coming of age movie centres around Ben, a 16-year-old aspiring writer coming to terms with hardships, bullying, adolescence, family issues and being different. The story explores how our differences should be cherished and not seen as limitations.

“He has hard time communicating with people. He’s too quiet at times, too loud at others. He’s passionate about a lot so this makes people deem him different. That makes them treat him differently, but he’s not always aware of it,” writer and lead actor Alex Weenink told Lovin Malta.

Ben. was originally written for the stage, however the team wanted to develop the story further. “One of the team members suggested doing it as a film last year, and I began experimenting with writing a screenplay ’til we got where we are now. The concept was always to promote the idea that being different is something that shouldn’t be put down, but should be celebrated, that’s where the story came from,” Weenink said.

Classroom Characters

The original script for Ben. was just 10 minutes long, however the team managed to develop the story further to transform it into a short movie.

“Filming and editing was the hardest,” Weenink explained. “We had limitations, both technical and in terms of our ability, but in the spirit of the film, we didn’t let those get in our way. We believed in the story we were telling, and we made sure we got to tell it. It also served as a very important learning process for a lot of us.”

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The team explained that the movie’s inspiration comes from personal experiences the young creatives encountered in their lives. “We’re all different in one way or another, and we’ve all been discriminated against because of that difference, so it was easy to draw from personal experiences when it came to developing Ben as a character,” Weenink said.

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Ben. will be screened at Science and the City on the 28th of September, followed by a wider release on YouTube on the 30th of September. A joint team production, Ben. was written by Alex Weenink, with music composition by Gianluca Mifsud, cinematography and editing by Brendon Thearle, set dressing and props by Matthew Cassar and co-ordination by Raquel Theuma.

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