An article in the National Geographic about the mysterious disappearance of the school children in underground tunnels in Malta in the 1940s became an inspiration for a new Maltese movie, Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb. The story introduces us to two cousins who, after finding an ancient treasure map, embark on a fantastical adventure full of mystery and magic. Their aim is to find the golden calf mentioned in the Bible, but their adventure ends up revealing family secrets.

Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb received development funding by The Malta Film Fund. As a result, the script benefited from a number of consultations by various professionals, including BAFTA-winner script-doctor Andrew Murphy and Bobette Buster, who is an official consultant to Pixar and Disney.

Armed with a very strong script, the production team went on to gather and prepare period-specific props and costumes, and construct the required sets. Since finding the perfect young protagonists was a crucial element in the film, they announced a public call for candidates. Dozens of children from different public and private drama schools attended auditions. Later on, a professional drama coach was recruited to carry out special sessions with the young actors to further develop the characters.

Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb was shot over 34 days between July and September 2016. Post-production, visual effects, sound mixing and colour grading by local and international professionals took place between November 2016 and November 2017. The final result is our island’s first professional family-oriented movie. Furthermore, it is accompanied by an interactive book for augmented reality. The title song, released in both Maltese and English and accompanied by a music video, has already hit Malta’s Top 10 by popular radio stations.

Praised by international film professionals as having “a wonderfully warm and magical story… (with) a truly exciting future”, “the script is excellent” and “the adventure (being) exciting”, the production team is currently in talks with international distributors to dub the film in English and distribute internationally.

Written by Ruth Frendo and directed by Alenka Falzon, the film stars Neve Mansueto, Aiken Buhagiar, Henry Zammit Cordina, Christabelle Scerri, Deandra Agius and Mandy Micallef Grimaud.

Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb will be shown at Eden Cinemas from the 15th December. You can find out more about Il-Misteru tal-Għoġol tad-Deheb by following its Facebook page.