This year’s edition of Poetry on Film will see two popular Maltese poems; Achille Mizzi’s ‘Kafè’, and Oliver Friggieri’s ‘Il-Lejl f’Dan l-Istazzjon’, made into films for the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2018. This is a part of the Valletta 2018 Foundation and Inizjamed’s initiative to make poetry more accessible through collaboration and co-creation across different artistic disciplines and media.

This year, Clare Azzopardi and Ken Scicluna are working on ‘Kafè’, while Abigail Mallia and Carlos Debattista are producing ‘Il-Lejl f’Dan l-Istazzjon’. When asked what inspired them the most about ‘Kafè’, Clare Azzopardi and Ken Scicluna said, “we fell in love with the poem upon the first reading, as although at first glance it seems to be a simple recounting of the process of coffee-making, there are several interesting elements to be explored in the poem’s verse sequence and alliterative sounds. These elements instilled in us emotions which go beyond the very existence of words which we use in our day-to-day conversations”.

Abigail Mallia said that ‘Il-Lejl f’Dan l-Istazzjon’ is a poem which instantly struck her and fellow producer Carlos. “Through the film, we want to come as close as possible to the way we felt the first time we read the poem – a sense of nostalgia and a sense of an ending”, she said. ‘Il-Lejl f’Dan l-Istazzjon’ explores the ways in which the protagonist, Paul, interacts with death and endings throughout his life. After workshops organised by Inizjamed, where filmmakers were encouraged to submit their short poetry-film proposals, Achille Mizzi and Oliver Friggieri and each of their respective poems were selected by Dr Immanuel Mifsud, who is literary consultant for the Poetry on Film project.

The first poetry film was commissioned for the 2014 edition of the Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival, and was based on two poems by Doreen Micallef as a representative of Maltese poetry of the 1960s. In 2015, a second poetry film based on a poem by Mario Azzopardi was commissioned, as a representative of Maltese poetry of the 1970s. The films chosen in 2016 were based on poems by Lillian Sciberras and Ray Mahoney, while last year, the two films chosen were based on poems by Victor Fenech and Maria Grech Ganado.

The Malta Mediterranean Literature Festival 2018 will take place between the 23rd and the 25th of August at Fort Manoel, Manoel Island, Gżira. More information is Valletta 2018 and Inizjamed’s Facebook pages.