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Maltese film ‘Luzzu’ shines at sundance and receives award

The Maltese film called Luzzu, which was premiered at the Sundance Film Festival and World Cinema Dramatic Competition over last weekend, dazzled and shone!

Fisherman turned actor Jesmark Scicluna, the lead actor in the motion picture, won the Special Jury Award in acting. The exciting announcement was made during the awards ceremony on Wednesday, which was hosted by actor and comedian Patton Oswalt, ending the festival’s seven-day run.

The actor thanked the director and casting director “for taking a leap of faith in me”, when he received the award. He also thanked his co-stars David Scicluna and Michael Farrugia, as well as producers Rebecca Anastasi, Ramin Bahrani and Oliver Mallia. He went on to thank his family and wife, and four-year-old daughter.

Since Luzzu’s film premiere last Friday, it has received overwhelmingly positive reviews from audiences and critics.

Representing the World Cinema jury, Turkish producer Zeynep Atakan said that: “Luzzu is a beautifully recorded film, which immerses us in a powerful story and a context far away from the touristic point of view of Malta some may know. The emotions that come up with this movie are honest and brought to us by the very well documented situation of the fishermen.” She went on to say that: “acting is more than magic – it’s mystery. Amongst the biggest mysteries of acting sometimes you find people that…bring a message along with then. That is pure biography, and it transcends the body.”

Jesmark Scicluna in Luzzu

Photo: Inigo Taylor

Director Alex Camilleri

The director, Alex Camilleri, also praised the actor in saying: “Developing the character over two years with me, Jesmark demonstrated extraordinary commitment to this project. His performance is not simply a great ‘non-actor’ performance: it’s a great performance, period. Jesmark elevates Luzzu with a subtlety and soulfulness that reminds me of the very best screen actors, and I’m thrilled his work is being recognised at the highest levels.”

Just a refresher: Jesmark plays a struggling fisherman in Malta, who is forced to risk everything by entering the world of blackmarket fishing, in order to provide for his wife and newborn baby. Along the way, Jesmark abandons tradition and discovers a shadow economy of blackmarket fishing, smuggling and sabotage.

What do you think? We couldn’t be more proud!