The first full day of the MARBOA project starts at St Martins Institute with introductions and lectures from guest professionals. Simply put this was a superb day inspiring both staff and students with examples of work, insights into the industry and new paradigms of media production.
We started with an introduction to the project and it’s objectives by Charles Theuma, Principal of St Martins, which was followed for the rest of that morning by Jean Pierre Magro, who introduced the notion of trans media and how media products have evolved to meet the new needs of audiences and the influence of new technologies.
After a chance for both Maltese and British groups to bond at lunch, Nathan Dodzo extended the themes of trans media, focusing on the influence of media on societies and individuals, before Jonathan Barbara from SMI asked us to view trans media from a game and film perspective, and how story elements contribute to this process.
The afternoon closed with a major guest star, Dominic Aquilina, a celebrated international photographer, who counts amongst his clients, UEFA and the Champions Leagues, and he took us through many topics from copyright and ownership to professional camera requirements and the processes of producing work suitable for selling to clients.
An outstanding and exciting start to this journey, invigorating and inspiring all to explore their own imaginations to find the mystery and passion, and to share this with an audience.
A long, but productive, day. The teams went out to recce a number of ancient sites including Terexia and ..geum, some of the oldest structures on the planet. Our tour guide explained much of the background for the pre-history of Malta and the variety of theories of how civilisations migrated to Malta and what their societies may have been like.
Students from both groups took a variety of photographs and video as part of the recce, and certainly enjoyed the day, although everyone was flagging towards the end. That said, ideas for production are developing and after tomorrow’s visit to Mdina students will have seen the majority of the major historical sites.
Today included a special treat – a tour of the Prime minister’s summer residence, Verdala Palace.
A majestic building and grounds, that many of us wished was our own, not for the affluence but the creativity, beauty and scale of endeavor and excellence. We are shown gifts from dignitaries, various paintings detailing the life story of the Grand Master, and a staircase of astonishing mathematical complexity.
We make a visit to Mdina to explore the walled city, and enjoy a guide to the significance of Malta’s former capital. Unfortunately, we are unable to tour the Palazzo Falson, but use this as an opportunity to spend more time in Mdina before visiting Domus Romana, a museum dedicated to the recollection of the period when Malta was part of the Roman Empire.
Later, we visit the St Paul’s Catacombs, an ancient burial site located deep below ground.
All in all a very enjoyable day.
Due to rescheduling, our first full film school day starts with a return to Mdina, to visit the Palazzo. Francesca introduces us to the history of the building and a variety of stories behind many historical objects donated to the museum.
A quick stop for lunch, before the groups visited the highest point on the island to check out the views. We made time to visit a glass blowing workshop on the way back to HQ, before the afternoon production meetings.
Supervised and facilitated by staff, students work within their teams to continue development of their media production, finalising treatments and production schedules for the next three or four days.
Our day began with a visit to Valetta, starting with Cinema 5D for an interactive guide to the history of Malta. At this stage however, due to the range of sites and activities undertaken over the past few days, there was little new covered although the experience was fun. The most spectacular was next – a visit to St John’s Co-Cathedral. Though under restoration in parts, the contrast between the plain external architecture and the wealth and range of art, symbolism and history was superlative. Students took full advantage of their filming permission record the main amphitheatre, though in truth it would have taken our teams days to represent the wealth of art and references at St John’s.
The Grandmaster’s Palace and Armoury was next on our tour, and students enjoyed revisiting the story of the Siege of Valetta, and deepening their understanding of how the Order of St John governed the island.
In the afternoon, students split into their teams and separately toured the island for recce and filming purposes. At the end of the day we all very tired indeed, but both teams moved their productions forward significantly.
Today we suffered a great deal of rain, but it was a chance to test how robust our contingency plans were. One group went to Chadwick Lakes, which was chosen because it was one of the few sites that would benefit from the inclement weather. Although grey skies affected some of the choices of shots available, we were able to film the lakes and capture some nature shots for both recce and to complement production diaries. Later, this team split into separate production units: one to visit Mdina and a nearby cathedral, the other to do a segment on an artisan bakery and restaurant and film the main rooms at the Mediterranean Conference Centre.
The second group went to film traditional Maltese restaurants in Marsaxloxx, as well as conducting a recce of the harbour and learning about the history of the area, before venturing to Sliema waterfront and Mdina for a second visit to St Paul’s catacombs and Palazzo Faison, prior to filming next Tuesday.
Today was the big outing to Gozo, and we were lucky enough to have the weather on our side for the first time in three days. The group stayed at a retreat run by Father Mike and Father Joe, set on top of a hill with a magnificent view over Gozo extending to the northeastern coastline.
The first order of business was a visit to the temple ruins of Ggantija, the oldest man made structure on the islands, followed by a trip to the red sand beach of Ramla l-Hamra, where we had lunch.
In the afternoon, the tour continued to the Citadel, before a final stop at ta’Cenc Cliffs, where several movies have taken advantage of the unique arch formation in the cliffs. There were some technical difficulties towards the end of the day, underpinning the need for students to determine their priorities and have contingency plans for when problems occur.
In the evening, the group relaxed with a meal in a traditional Gozotian restaurant, before stopping at Nadur carnival in the evening, with wild and outlandish costumes within a street party atmosphere.
The day began later than usual, due to the late finish the previous evening, and our anticipation that the predicted rainfall would negatively affect our chances of capturing good images. We returned to Malta early afternoon, and did some shooting in Melhiha Bay, though this was a welcome short day of filming after many long days of travelling and filming. Students returned to their base to work in their teams, updating blogs, preparing presentations for next week’s Gala and reworking production schedules.
Teams again split into smaller production teams to cover the fishing village and market early in the morning and the build up to the Carnival, whilst others stayed at HQ to continue preparing for presentations and updating production diaries, before everyone meeting in Valetta in the afternoon. We also visited Mdina to capture footage for segments on nightlife activities and entertainment. Both mobility teams reworked their production schedules to make up for opportunities lost earlier in the week, and have ensured that there is greater precision in their choices of locations and shots, ahead of the final few days of production.