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After being named among the best three socio-religious programmes broadcast on Maltese Television, “Stembah!” (“Wake Up!”) was then placed by the organisers of the Cannes Festival in the short film corner.
Shot in Senglea, Mount Carmel Hospital and private homes, it was produced by Boscocrew, with the collaboration of the Salesians in Turin who lent them professional equipment and a camera. “Stembah!” is 21-year-old student director James Spiteri’s first, as well as the first short by the Salesian BOSCOcrew in Malta, where youngsters as young as 15 can develop their talents in cinema.
By taking it into schools. it is intended that “Stembah!” should provoke discussion about families and broken homes, “It is based on several true stories we encountered, and the main theme is that if we don’t deal with the problems of our past, they will keep haunting us,” Fr Eric Cachia, the film’s producer and the one in charge of BOSCOcrew told the “Times of Malta”. “There is also the idea of the family, that it is natural that a person from a broken home suffers emotional and psychological problems,” he added.
Being shown at the Cannes Festival considerably increases the chance of the short being selected for other international festivals and at the same time exposes the talent and ideas of the young people in the BOSCOcrew to potential partners or distributors. But whatever happens on the festival front, Fr Cachia thinks the film is a winner. “Firstly, we put people’s talents to good use while making the film, but we’re discovering that through this medium, we’re reaching out to kids who otherwise would not bother with discussions or the Church.”
Two follow-ups are in the pipeline, but the Stenbaħ! producers aim to take it to other festivals.