ACTION! A WORD WITH JAMESON CUCCIARDI

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Date of Birth: 5th November, 1985

Location: Żabbar

Status: In a relationship

Star Sign: Scorpio

Main occupation: Freelance director and editor

Jameson Cucciardi is very adaptable to any kind of situation. He used to be quite a shy person and even though he still considers himself to be an introvert, today he’s gained a bit more confidence in himself.

When he doesn’t have a big project to tend to, he is a freelance director and editor and at times producer. “I like to work mostly on narrative-related projects, but I also do other projects such as adverts. My guilty pleasure is playing video games,” states Jameson in this interview.

Tell us about your journey in becoming a director.

Back in the late 90s, I became totally immersed in a video game that had quite a cinematic approach. It inspired me to work in video gaming as a director, since the structure can be quite similar to that of movies. The video game industry was non-existent at the time in Malta, so instead I became attracted to TV series, since they were the closest thing to sharing an experience with the viewer – similar to video games, but different on many levels.

That’s where I started exploring possibilities of being in the industry, first as an actor and then behind the camera in many different roles. I started working as a video editor with a local TV station, where I got to work closely with my friend and mentor Mark Doneo, who took me under his wing for the production of Miriana Coljero back in 2007. That was my baptism of fire, as he called it.

Life in television was ruthless back then, and it hasn’t got any easier. However, I enjoy that kind of pressure and I especially enjoy the different people that I meet along the road. Two years after Miriana, I directed the second season of Marvin and I haven’t looked back since. During the project Stejjer Qosra, I was encouraged by Jonathan Azzopardi to do a series together and that’s where Maskra was born. During the last year of this production, I was among the selected candidates to attend StoryWorks – a V.18 project course given by David Howard, Martin Daniels and Mary Kate O’ Flanagan. This is where I was paired with Malcolm Galea for 20,000 Reasons whom I already knew at the time. After Maskra, I worked on a short film titled Hostage with my partner and won the Best Director Award at the Malta Short Film Festival.

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What support systems would you like to see for local drama?

I think there should be more incentives similar to the one 20,000 Reasons benefited from. It was a training-on-the-job opportunity and all the team learned invaluable lessons by experience. Also, creating more awareness and incentives in the form of tax credits to local companies and businesses to encourage them to invest in the creation of artistic projects would greatly help.

What fashion item could you not live without?

A hat, especially in winter. It keeps my head warm, it’s stylish and helps the flow of ideas.

How would you describe your relationship with money?

It’s what makes the world go round and what could fund my next movie, but other than that, I don’t believe it to be one of my priorities. I learned to appreciate the little things in life, and I believe that the real wealth lies in life experience.

Do you have any advice for aspiring students wanting to break into directing?

Drama is a collaborative process and you will always be surrounded by people who, like yourself, will also have an opinion. You have to have a strong and passionate opinion to fight for what you believe in, but you need to be flexible enough to accept change.