Maltese filmmaker tells ‘human stories’ from Seoul, South Korea

Maltese indie filmmaker Franco Rizzo creates YouTube web series 'Seoul Stories' based in the city of Seoul, South Korea

Seoul Stories is a YouTube web series self-produced by Maltese indie filmmaker Franco Rizzo, who is based in the city of Seoul, South Korea.

The series consists of short movies and documentaries, spanning different genres and filmmaking styles, to tell different stories all based in the city of Seoul.

After a run at the 20th Gwanghwamun International Short Film Festival, one of these shorts, #seoulsearching, will next be shown at the upcoming 18th Kinemastik Short Film Festival in Malta, at the end of this month.

#seoulsearching is unusual but unique in the way it came to fruition. It’s not often you’ll hear of a movie done with extremely limited resources, directed and edited by a Maltese guy in Seoul, with Korean and Filipina actresses, with virtually no English dialogue whatsoever.

Rizzo has also just finished writing the second draft of his next short feature project - Night Owl - for which he launched a crowdfunding campaign, with shooting already planned to happen in September.

Night Owl is also bigger in scope and ambition than his previous outing: it includes shots filmed in Malta; features Maltese dialogue with the backdrop of Seoul’s cityscape; a cast and crew which, while small in size, is quite diverse - 5 Koreans, 2 Americans, 2 Maltese; and the soundtrack is all songs from Malta’s established and upcoming musicians - Kym Pepe, Eddie Fresco, Djun, 1905 and Michael Azzopardi.

Night Owl is the story of a Maltese expat on his last night in Seoul. He’s extremely hesitant to come home - can he even call it home any longer? He is anxious and uncertain about his future in Malta, and ends up impacting the relationship with an ex and a number of friends.

It will all boil down to a crucial decision he’ll have to take by the end of the short, and how he comes to terms with his own fears and anxieties, and ultimately, with himself.

The filmmaker believes he’s moving towards his vision for the ambitious cross-cultural project, while also creating a platform where Maltese talent could be featured on a larger scale, and get the support it truly deserves.

It also fits within the aim of Seoul Stories, which is that of finding common and contrasting experiences between characters from different cultural backgrounds. Through these encounters, hopefully both the characters and the viewers would be able to find some kind of universal truth. It is to tell deeply human stories in the age of content.