Right on the heels of awesome Maltese productions Simshar, Do Re Me Fa and Limestone Cowboy, there’s a new homegrown film about to make international waves – and it’s going to make you scared of ever going on a boat again.
Production is well underway for the film Head, a Maltese film about a sailor who goes out in the early hours of the morning and comes across an abandoned boat in the middle of the sea. That’s when things take a turn for the worse.
Lovin Malta was taken on set at the film studios in Rinella during shooting of the latest movie to come from the mind of Winston Azzopardi. Winston is one of the longest-serving producers in the Maltese film industry, serving as everything from line producer to writer to director, even co-producing the 2004 epic Troy.
He wrote and released a short film, also called Head, a couple of years ago, starring his son Joe Azzopardi as the main actor. After winning a number of awards both for the acting as well as the Best Short Film award at the Rome International Film Festival, he decided to create a full-length feature film from the short.
A labour of love, Winston has already lined up international distribution and is expecting a release June next year. The entire cast and crew is Maltese, bar two people.
The production benefitted from €120,000 in support from the Malta Film Fund, as well as co-production benefits and cash rebates of up to 32%.
Engelbert Grech, head of the Malta Film Commission, said that a film like Head is a sign that the local indigenous industry is actually coming to life
He told Lovin Malta that their goal was to have one Maltese film come out every year, a target they’ve been able to attain for some years now, sometimes even putting out two films a year.
Mr Grech stressed how they needed to “push local talent” and that the local industry needed to “guarantee work” if there was any hope for a thriving indigenous film industry.
That said, Mr Grech says they are now seeing a trend in attracting large productions regularly to the island.
The recent budget allocated an extra €50,000 to the Malta Film Fund next year, bringing their allocation to €350,000 now, giving the Malta Fund Commission more resources to work with.
However, while producing some incredible films, the film grounds in Rinella are clearly in need of a renovation; the actual U-boat used in the 2000 film U-571, for example, is literally just lying there decaying in the sun, as opposed to say a Maltese film museum.
Minister for Tourism Konrad Mizzi was given a tour of the set as well, even entering the post-production rooms to get a better idea of what goes on behind the scenes of a film production.
Lovin Malta asked Minister Konrad Mizzi if there were plans to renovate or upgrade the grounds, to which he replied that the government “was working with the commission” to explore what could be done.
While saying he was proud of the “wonderful tanks” that Malta could offer the international film industry, referring to the popular water tank facilities offered on site, he did note that many productions could film part of their production here, indoors, but often not all of it, and that something must be done to “complement” what is already on offer.
With Head set to come out next year, and other films like The Weeping House of Qala in post-production, the Maltese film industry is slowly but surely getting on its own two feet.