On the spotlight for Minikino’s Monthly Screening & Discussion – July 2021 is ‘On The Rocks’– Malta’s films curated by Angelique Muller, filmmaker-programmer for Valletta Film Festival based in Malta. From 2015 – 2019’s Valletta Film Festival archives, Angelique curated six films to be included in the program: Cut It Out (Inez Kristina, 2021), Ragel Tal-Klieb (Samuel Sultana, 2018), Mr. Teddy Is Angry (Febrizio Ellul, 2021), Sheep (Thomas Georgi, 2018), Toxicity (Angelique Muller, 2018), and Hallini Hallini (Samira Damato, 2020).
“On The Rocks” consists of raging emotions, from the mundane to unexpected troubles and conflicts. Some of it entertains, until it makes us rethink the way of perceiving deceits and problems, which all leads to–– quoting Angelique’s program notes: “metaphorical images and socio-political satire, which she hopes fellow islanders will likewise relate to.”
Angelique’s film, TOXICITY, is also part of this program, and her other film– Johnny Johnny; is an Official Selection for this year’s Minikino Film Week.
Minikino’s Festival Writer Azalia Syahputri interviewed Angelique Muller by email to further talk about “On The Rocks” and how Angelique’s experiences are shaping her work approaches, both as a filmmaker and programmer.
Azel : Would you share more about your experience living in Malta as an islander? What do you think is the biggest difference in your filmmaking and film programming approach as islander, compared to the different socio-geographical landscape setting?
Angelique : I am originally from central France – I was not born an Islander – but I have somewhat always been drawn to islands – as I have lived, studied and worked in Corsica, the Seychelles, Scotland and Malta.
Filmmaking as such is always more of a challenge in Island countries as they seldom have extensive infrastructure – material and training opportunities. Narratively Island film often share common themes (migration, post-colonialism, insularity to mention a few)
Azel : Does it make a difference for you as a French-National, living and building your career there?
Angelique : I moved to Malta when I was 18 and have spent most of my formative years on the Island, I therefore naturally started my film career as a ‘local’.
Azel : About short films selected for the program ‘On The Rocks’. What makes each film stand out to you personally?
Angelique : Each film draws a singular portrait of the island but what stands out in all in each film in my opinion, is the metaphorical interpretation of the social and political environment.
Azel : Would you share any unique experience or trivia in the making of TOXICITY (your directed short films)?
Angelique : We shot TOXICITY on the Island’s landfield. The ground is so Toxic – Gas actually emanates from it.
We had 12 hours to shoot the film. We all showed us wearing masks but soon realized actors could not wear them – and therefore the crew should not either as we were in this together. At 7 pm when the sun came down, an army of rats showed up and we had to flee the set and come-back to dismantle the next day.
Azel : Since Valletta Film Festival got postponed indefinitely, what’s currently going on now in Malta’s film community? Any plan or hope for the years to come?
Angelique : The future of the VFF is unfortunately quite uncertain at this point due to a deplorable lack of public support locally but several institutions (Kinemastik, SpatzjuKreativ, the Alliance Française, The Italian Institute …) continue to work hard to give a platform to independent cinema on the island.