Date of Birth: 9th October 1950
Where do you live? Kappara, San Gwann
Star Sign: Libra
Main occupation: Businessman
Media-related occupation: Actor (as well as being a regular participant in local TV magazine programmes giving advice on hair care.)
SAM CUTAJAR is the eldest of seven siblings, born only a few years after the end of the Second World War and his early days were not showered with all the technological frills of today. His father came from a working class family and his employment was that of a carpenter.
In the early sixties, his parents joined the exodus of migrants to Australia hoping to provide a better future for their children. But his family returned to Malta after some three to four years. For his parents, this was not an easy decision to make, as it meant going back to square one and starting all over again. This had to be done with one important difference – of now having to also provide for seven children.
“Even though life was very hard for my father as the only bread winner of the family, he still insisted for all of us to complete our education, as much as possible. Although during my education I was never exposed to any media-related work, the technology era which was only in its infancy at the time was like a magnet for me.”
“I was drawn to the various gadgets that the market was constantly offering. I remember when I bought my first video camera, which is still my pride and joy even though it is outdated. I had no guidance on how to use this new toy, I guess I had it so much in me that it came naturally. It was then that I joined the Malta Amateur Cine Circle and gave a shot at my first short movie competition and submitted The Storm. That first try was a success as it was selected for six awards. I went on to produce other short movies, all of which gave me great satisfaction, in one way or another.”
“This success exposed me to opportunities to film special events, such as various plays and pantos by the MADC. I did this on my own and because I enjoyed doing it. I wanted to capture the performance in such a way that it looked as if it had been filmed by more than one camera at the same time. To do this, I filmed the performance every time it was on, filming from different angles. After the performance was finished, I would then select the best video sections to complete the whole film. This was not an easy task, as at the time I did not have the luxury of computer editing. Having and running my own business meant that I had to give up certain things and I had to give up this pastime that provided so much relaxation and satisfaction in my life,” explained Sam.
Having an imaginative mind helped him a lot in his business, especially when it came to promotion. By this time, media-related gadgets were becoming more affordable and so Sam spared no time in getting his hands on the latest video and photographic equipment of the time.
“It was a time in my life that I used to say that I was born too early in life, as I felt like a child surrounded with an abundance of toys. I wanted to discover each and every one of them. The computer became my tutor, as every day, I discovered the wealth of information that was out there for me to discover with just a few clicks on my keyboard. Till this day I still wish that I was born at a later date, as I know that there will be so much more to learn and discover in the future.”
“During the past few years, I have made a 180 degree turn with the camera and now I sit in front of the lens, instead of behind it. So in a way, I still get that wonderful feeling of being close to a camera.”
Tell us about your journey to become an actor.
From a very young age, the big screen has always fascinated me. In those days, when going to see a movie was known as ‘going to the talkies,’ it was a very big thing for us. As I grew older, I ventured into every opportunity that would get me close to the stage of a theatre. My first opportunity to be on stage was in the early 70s, when I was a member of the National Youth Movement by the name of Teens and Twenties Talent Trust (better known as the Four Ts).
Madam X was a play which was presented at the Manoel Theatre and I was asked to take part in this presentation. After that, I joined the Balzan Drama Group which organised various plays during the winter months. Being part of this group also gave me enough exposure for me to be asked to take part in other theatre productions which were held at various theatres, as well as at the Catholic Institute.
The first time I sat in front of a camera was when I decided to be part of educational programmes and to share my knowledge of haircare on various programmes that were aired on local TV stations. I did this for a number of years and it became second nature for me to be in front of a camera.
Maybe it was this confidence that prompted Rewind Productions to involve me in their drama La Farfalla in 2008. From then on I can say that I have never looked back as I was given a bigger part in their production, Dreams. This was followed by Zafira and now Hbieb u Ghedewwa. The beginning was certainly not easy, but I do thank Michael Vella Haber and Evelyn Saliba La Rosa for giving me the opportunity and believing enough in my acting capabilities to increase my involvement in their presentations, as we went along.
What role does technology play in your life?
I grew up without it and maybe that is why it fascinates me so much. Over the years, it has affected my life in many ways, whether at home or at work. Whether we like it or not, one cannot shut it out from one’s life. We all use it in one way or another, so I choose to accept the conveniences it brings along with it so much that when something goes wrong, I tend to feel lost without it.
What do you like to do while on holiday abroad?
I spend most of my time capturing those unforgettable moments with my cameras, both in still images and video.
What are your major causes of stress?
I am not perfect as I do make mistakes, but having to cope with repetitive mistakes by those around me does get a bit under my skin. Emotional stress also affects me.
What is your most treasured possession, and why?
My cameras. These help me to capture memories so that I am able to enjoy them long into the future.
In your opinion, what is the best thing in life?
Good health and love which is the essence of every being.