Jesmark Scicluna never thought he’d win an award when he signed up to act in the film Luzzu. It was his first ever film.
Jesmark is a Siggiewi-based fisherman who was cast as the lead in the Maltese film, Luzzu. He won the World Cinema Dramatic Special Jury Award in Acting at the Sundance Film Festival. Luzzu was directed by Alex Camilleri and made its world premiere at Sundance.
The Malta Independent spoke to Jesmark and one of the producers of the film, Rebecca Anastasi, regarding the award and to see what the future holds for themselves and the industry in Malta.
“I never expected to win such an award, it never even crossed my mind,” Jesmark said. “But I guess it is a bonus.”
One of the major highlights – apart from winning the award – was the first time he was on set. “When you are on set for the first time, you get to see how things work from behind the lens as opposed to on the TV screen. It is incredible,” he noted.
“A call for fisherman to participate was sent out and I decided to participate as I fit the credentials that were needed, such as age. Since I am a fisherman by trade, I thought ‘why not give it a shot?’”
Asked if he thinks this will be a one-time thing, he replied in the negative, as this has inspired him to continue acting.
“I don’t think it will be a one-time thing – the experience has been great. The process is intense and interesting. Once you get to experience it, it pushes you to carry on,” he said.
“If I continue acting, I don’t want to only work in acting jobs in the role of a fisherman, I want to expand. There is no a particular topic, I’m open to any subject.”
Rebecca spoke about the film and said that it was inspired by the day-to-day challenges faced by fishermen. The production also kept the local Malta scene in mind.
“The story is fiction, but we were inspired by the day-to-day challenges. We shot the film over a 5-week period in 2019,” she said.
She was asked about the local film industry and the challenges producers, directors, and script writers face.
“The local industry is struggling to get into the scene, Maltese films are not well-known both locally and internationally, but it has tremendous potential.”
Rebecca noted that the local scene still needs help in order to give it more of a spotlight that it deserves.
“There needs to be an increased focus. We need to ask ourselves how we can help this national industry grow. We have to prove that we can make the most with what we have right now. We have the potential, but we also have to incentivise such potential.”