Mediterrane Film Festival Opens Second Edition With ‘The Count of Monte Cristo’ and a Focus on Uniting Mediterranean Nations

The Mediterrane Film Festival kickstarted its second edition with the international premiere of Alexandre de La Patellière and Matthieu Delaporte’s “The Count of Monte Cristo.”

The film, shown at the heart of Malta’s capital of Valletta on Saturday night, was followed by a reception at the historic Mdina Ditch Gardens, in which Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech highlighted the importance of the festival as an event to “unite the nations of the Mediterranean through film.”

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The sentiment echoes this year’s festival theme of Unity Through Film, with Grech adding that he hopes the festival will bring nations together to “share stories that celebrate not only our diversity but also our shared outlook.” The film commissioner emphasised the success of the festival’s first edition, claiming the return to the local economy “far exceeded our investment, showing once again what a force for good film is in our country.”

Several members of the local film industry were present at the gathering as well as international attendees in this year’s jury president Jon S. Baird (“Tetris,” “Stan and Ollie”) and “Triangle of Sadness” actor Zlatko Burić, who was part of last year’s jury.

Grech said the sophomore edition was a “no-brainer,” with the Mediterrane Film Festival returning to Valletta “bolder than before and invested to bring more jobs to Malta and build a world-class industry” on the island country. “We should all take pride in the scale of our ambition. Yes, we may be small but we are a big nation rich in history. The Mediterrane Film Festival is all about shouting Malta’s success from the rooftops and showing the world how much [we have] to offer,” concluded the commissioner.

“The Count of Monte Cristo” was shot on key locations across Malta, including Birgu Waterfront and Marsa Wharf. The opening night screening was attended by several of the film’s local crew, including producers Pierre Ellul and Anika Psaila Savona. The festival’s Artistic Director Teresa Cavina said the film “showcases the unparalleled beauty and history of Malta” and that the team was “delighted to celebrate so many of the makers behind this project at our screening.”

The film employed around 200 local crew in Malta and “showed the positive impact film has on our island’s economy,” according to Grech, who went on to add that the project “inspired young Maltese talent to see just what an exciting and sustainable career film can offer.”

The Mediterrane Film Festival runs until June 30 and features over 45 films from 35 countries including Cannes breakouts in Yorgos Lanthimos’ “Kinds of Kindness” and Coralie Fargeat’s “The Substance” plus other international festival highlights in Meryam Joobeur’s “Who Do I Belong To” and Jane Schoenbrun’s “I Saw the TV Glow.”  

Additionally, the festival will feature a series of panels and masterclasses discussing issues such as globalization in the entertainment industry, film circulation and co-production emerging storytelling trends, immersive technologies, and the animation landscape and career-specific discussions hosted by acclaimed experts in their respective fields and crafts.

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