Maurice Micallef's The Giant Deep Reds Picks Interest
After Hour : You have very rich experience in film-making and your career dates back to the 1960's. From then till now, what techniques, other than the obvious technological ones, have you changed and what are some of the methods you still follow?
Maurice : When we used 8 mm and Super 8 films to produce documentaries or small fiction films, it was indeed very expensive. So one has to learn the ropes the right way to make things right the first time. Throughout the years this had helped a great deal. It has helped us to think faster and better. With today's technology, it has become more accommodating for the production team as seeing your end result right on the spot helps, rather than having to wait to get it processed abroad, and then see the end result. But planning is still of the essence to it all. The importance of research has remained the same, although again, with today's technology and on-line publications and libraries, research has been facilitated more. My son Chris who holds a doctorate degree in social sciences from the University of Leicester, is key here. In our opinion for any documentary, the basis of good research helps in creating a solid good documentary. There are other important aspects like cinematography, editing, narration, and direction which all provide important input that will fit like a closely-knit glove when the production is finalized.
After Hour : How do you think the industry has changed over the years?
Maurice : Today we are no longer speaking about the big shots in the industry. Although Hollywood remains Hollywood, the importance of the indie film-maker has definitely grown over the years. Reference is being made to the recent Oscar nominated productions spearheaded by a number of on-line platforms.This is indeed giving everyone a chance to field their views through film.
After Hour : Please tell us a bit about shooting of this film, The Giant Deep Reds. Is there an incident or memory that you would like to share with our readers?
Maurice : This was one of the hardest productions in our entire career. Although filmed during the summer period, we were faced with turbulent seas at times. One particular instance was after filming in one of the tuna cages and returning back to base at Marsaxlokk, the ship we were on, was hit by a wave on its broadside and we literally went from one side of the deck to another with our chairs and equipment in an instant. If we had seen the bottom, they would have found us with our hands clenched to our precious SONY equipment. Another unforgettable instance was when we were attacked by a blue shark, just right before a bluefin tuna was being hauled on the fishing boat KRISTU RE 1, during filming. To be honest, we froze on-site, but our fingers still managed to push the shoot button of our digital camera.
After Hour : Through out your filming career you have worked towards promoting Maltese heritage and culture, when you look back at your work timeline and the 372 awards that you earned through your work, what goes through your mind?
Maurice : Malta, our beloved country always sparks to mind. We have a very rich cultural island packed with a multitude of different social aspects faced by the Maltese, that need to be brought forward by some-one on the screen. That has indeed been our mission over the years.
After Hour : From A Glance At Valetta in 1964 to The Giant Deep Reds in 2020, it has been a long long journey. What is next on the platter for you?
Maurice : Yes, it has definitely been a long journey. We have learnt a lot and we will keep on learning right till the end. There is no moment when one can say that we have learnt enough. Life is a continuous journey of learning and transmitting that knowledge to others in the different formats that we have available has been our mission. In our case, it has been the medium of film. Next on the platter will be two historical documentary set-pieces. Two particular periods through which the Maltese Islands passed through before gaining independence in 1964 and later freedom from the British forces in 1979. Earlier we had concluded two documentaries about the Phoenicians and the Norman periods in the Maltese Islands. My son Chris (who is in charge of the research aspect) and myself will pool our resources together to get things in the right perspective for the viewers to enjoy.