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Creating stories that matter | Keith Tedesco

As its Indiegogo crowdfunding campaign gets underway, we speak to young director Keith Tedesco, who is hoping to fund an upcoming short film, In the Name Of Bjorn, by the end of the coming month. The film – a collaboration with actress Sarah Naudi – takes its cue from a real-life figure, and seeks to explore the theme of ‘extremism’.

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic
31 March 2015, 8:30am
Keith Tedesco: “We focus on extremism in everyday social life”
Keith Tedesco: “We focus on extremism in everyday social life”
How did the initial idea for the project come about?

Sarah and I have been friends for many years, though recently we started collaborating with each other to make short films together. For me, it was practice for bigger projects, for Sarah it was a chance for her to do what she loves most – acting. Then as fate would have it, we met again on the set of By The Sea, directed by Angelina Jolie, and due to our atmosphere, we were simply inspired and magically the characters evolved in our minds.

What made you opt for a film as your chosen format to tell this story?

Film is our passion. I have been studying film for the past three years, and before that I was an extreme enthusiast you can say. Sarah has been trained to act professionally for stage and the big screen, and she also shares the same passion I do. We chose film because we imagine everything through a lens.

You say that the ‘film matters because it is current’. In what ways is it current?

The film touches heavily on the theme of extremism, though extremity isn’t taken in the traditional sense, as we tackle the subject through a different perspective. The film is our version of society, and every character represents an archetype of human behavior in their own version of extreme. So rather than solely and controversially focusing on extremism in religion, we focus on extremism in everyday social life.

What kind of team are you working with at the moment? How do you hope to carve out the necessary time to make this film?

From cast to crew, our team members are professional and passionate individuals who have worked, trained and studied in the arts, and film for a number of years. We were very selective with our entire team as the project is our baby. We now have a cast and crew that are as connected to the script as we are. They ultimately chose us. We have been working on this film for months and our team is all set to go for our shoot in July. We have scheduled everything, so with regards to time management, we are solid, and when you have a team who are as dedicated to film, finding time is never an issue.

Why did you opt for crowdfunding as your primary source of income for the film? Did you consider other more conventional funding streams, like sponsorship, or perhaps a grant from the Malta Film Commission?

The Malta Film Fund was our first option. I have the highest respect for the Malta Film Commission, and for the new film commissioner Engelbert Grech who is doing a fantastic job with regards to building on Malta’s indigenous film industry. The new schemes presented this year are fantastic, such as the short film production fun that supports new emerging talent. We chose crowd funding simply because the dates didn’t match up and we would have had to push back our filming dates and risk losing our entire cast and crew. We will still apply for funding from the Malta Film Commission when we are more prepared with our next project.

Are you hopeful that Maltese people will respond to your crowdfunding call? How do you think the local filmmaking ecology would benefit from your project?

So far people have been so supportive and the feedback has been incredible. We have no doubt that the calls, emails and messages of support will keep coming in, and we welcome it all. Obviously, we don’t only do this solely for entertainment purposes. We want to create a message with every film project that we make, and because we are Maltese, our culture and heritage pours onto paper and will eventually make it to the big screen. We know that the Maltese film industry is growing, and all we want is to grow with it so that together we can create stories that matter.

To see the film’s Indiegogo campaign, log on to: https://www.indiegogo.com/projects/in-the-name-of-bjorn-short-film

teodor_reljic
Teodor Reljic is MaltaToday's culture editor and film critic. He joined t...
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