[WATCH] Simshar to hit film festivals in January

Now in its final week of shooting, Malta’s first bona fide feature film will hit the international festival circuit in January 2014. Also: watch an interview with actress Clare Agius.

Filming on the set of Simshar this morning – with Paola’s Paul Grasso Football Stadium doubling up as a detention centre.
Filming on the set of Simshar this morning – with Paola’s Paul Grasso Football Stadium doubling up as a detention centre.

During a set visit this morning, Simshar producer Leslie Ann Lucey has confirmed that the film - directed by Rebecca Cremona and in production since 2009 - will be wrapping up filming in a week's time.

Speaking to MaltaToday during an on-location set visit at the Paul Grasso Football Ground in Paola, Lucey added that following a six-week post-production period, the film - which is based on the Simshar boating tragedy which occurred in 2008 - will then be submitted to international independent film festivals such as Sundance.

"The film will definitely be completed in time for a January 2014 release," Lucey confirmed, while adding that this would not have been possible without the help of the "Maltese community".

"People really believe in this film - and they believe in Rebecca. There's a lot of excitement to get this film made, people are proud to be part of it, and we've found the Maltese community to be very supportive," Lucey said.

During the set visit this morning, the crew was busy filming a scene in which a migrant family was receiving medical treatment, to the backdrop of an angry crowd of local protesters booing the arrival of a batch of migrants on a Maltese bus.

Set around the real-life 'Simshar' tragedy which occurred in 2008, the film - co-written by Rebecca Cremona and David Grech - takes as its starting point the accident involving the titular fishing boat, which left Simon Bugeja's 11-year-old son Theo and father Karmenu dead at sea.

A parallel story, also in the Mediterranean, zooms in on the fate of a medic who is ordered to stay on a boat harbouring rescued African migrants, which Malta and Italy refuse access to.

Read a full report on the set visit on next Sunday's edition of MaltaToday

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Can anyone explain to me what's the point in turning this tragedy into a movie? The tragedy in itself is a very big mystery until today, or not?