The 2nd July 2021 marked a significant occasion for a number European Embassies and Cultural Institutes active in Malta, who, over the previous several months, had been working together to set up the EUNIC Malta Cluster.

The EUNIC Malta Cluster envisages to facilitate people-to-people exchanges, European cooperation, and the integration between the EC Representation and local cultural partners, building upon the national cultural policy and Arts Council Malta’s strategy. It will pool together the resources and expertise of its members, and it aims to strengthen cultural dialogue, exchanges and sustainable cooperation in order to promote cultural diversity and understanding in the Mediterranean region. Its mission is to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals and to reflect and give value to the diversity of European cultures and common values through joint European events and projects.

Currently, the EUNIC Malta cluster comprises of the following members:

Embassy of Austria for Malta (EUNIC Malta Cluster co-President)
Italian Cultural Institute (EUNIC Malta Cluster co-President)
British Council in Malta (EUNIC Malta Cluster Vice President)
Arts Council Malta (EUNIC Malta Cluster Vice President)
Embassy of Spain in Malta
Alliance Francaise de Malte – Mediterranee
Embassy of Poland in Malta
Embassy of Hungary
French Embassy in Malta
Czech Cultural Centre/Embassy of the Czech Republic
EU Commission Representation in Malta

EUNIC European Film Festival at Spazju Kreattiv 2022

The Embassies of Austria, France, Germany, Italy, Poland, Spain, and the UK, as well as Arts Council Malta, the Czech Cultural Centre, and the EU Commission have been working together for the past few years to set up the EUNIC Malta Cluster. EUNIC, the European Union National Institutes for Culture, is the European network of organisations engaging in international cultural relations.

The EUNIC Malta Cluster seeks to facilitate people-to-people exchanges, European cooperation, and representation of local cultural partners. The mission of EUNIC is to contribute towards the Sustainable Development Goals and to reflect and give value to the diversity of European cultures and common values through joint European events and projects.

EUNIC Malta, in cooperation with Spazju Kreattiv Valletta, will be presenting movies with the main theme focussing on sustainability, whether social, economic or environmental; a theme in light of environmental degradation, biodiversity loss, climate change, overconsumption, population growth, and societies’ pursuit of unlimited economic growth in a closed system.

The EUNIC film festival is also supported by the Ministry for Foreign and European Affairs and Trade and the Ministry for the National Heritage, the Arts and Local Government of Malta.

Arts Council Malta:

Series of short films, 75 minutes duration

Screening Thursday 13th October 2022 @ 8.30 pm

To celebrate the 2022 European Year of Youth, Arts Council Malta, in collaboration with Aġenzija Żgħażagħ, will show short movies produced by Maltese youths: Lost Kid Wanderer, Orrajt, Rabbit Stew, Son, The Black Pebble, and The Soapbox. In Lost Kid Wanderer by Chelsea Muscat, a lone wanderer must decide her future fate while life is coming to an end. Son, by Ryan Zammit Pawley, is a coming-of-age story that revolves around Sonny, a Maltese boy in his late teens. After a night of partying, Sonny is abruptly awoken as he needs to sober up in order to get to his grandmother's birthday party. Embrace the Grind by Keith Dimech is a short film about an inspirational basketball player Mason Vires and a story of what goes through a professional's mind to reach the pinnacle of success. Rabbit Stew by Francesca Zammit tells the story of lifelong friends at the ages of 13 and 10. Gianni escorts Sarah home from school across their colourful village. To Sarah, the village is the whole world, but by the end of this feminist fairytale, her childish beliefs are shattered by the realisation that adults are not as perfect as she thought. The Soapbox by Bruce Micallef Eynaud is about the last weekend of lockdown when a mysterious virus causes a young man to doubt his own sanity. Orrajt by Jeremy Vella shows a bilingual battle that George needs to face, being both an English and Maltese speaker. In The Black Pebble by Chris Zarb, Vincent learns a lesson of self-forgiveness.

Embassy of Austria:

Film Alpenland, duration 88 minutes

Screening Sunday 16th October 2022 @ 6pm

The Embassy of Austria will present the movie Alpenland by Robert Schabus. The movie deals with two opposing worlds: the world of prestigious ski tourism with its impressive Alps and the world of the simple farmer—which reflects the daily and arduous work—which seem to collide. The fantastic nature shots especially give a hint that climate change, with its effects on humans and nature, plays a vital role in this film. Alpenland takes several countries into focus. Different generations are shown, and since the alpine business is profitable, the film is also highly political since other protagonists are presented, from the real estate agent to the daughter of a simple farmer; she is to take over the alpine farm. The movie accurately shows the reality of people's lives.

Czech Cultural Centre:

Film Living Water duration 77 minutes

Screening Saturday 15th October 2022 @ 6pm

The Czech Cultural Centre will present Living Water. Ever since Jordanian nomads settled in the spectacular landscape of Wadi Rum, they grew dependent on complex water infrastructure. The source is right below their feet, yet they struggle to meet basic needs. In the meantime, deep water extraction feeds private large-scale farms, animates visionary development, and secures a growing urban population. Bedouins, farmers and city dwellers all expect to have their fair share but digging for “blue gold” unleashes an environmental timebomb. Living Water tells the story of power, exploitation, and changing ecological circumstances in one of the most water-poor countries in the world.

Embassy of France/Alliance Française:

Film Rouge, duration 88 minutes

Screening Wednesday 12th October 2022 @ 8.30pm

The Embassy of France and Alliance Française de Malte will launch the movie Rouge by Thomas Lilti which tells a story about the nurse Nour who has just been hired in the chemical plant where her father, a union delegate and a long-time company leader, works. While the factory is undergoing a health inspection, a young journalist is investigating waste management. The two young women gradually discover that this factory, a pillar of the local economy, is hiding many secrets.

German Embassy:

Film Toubab, duration 96 minutes

Screening 15th October 2022 @ 8.30pm

The Embassy of Germany will show Toubab which tells the story of the criminal Babtou. The only thing that can save the petty criminal Babtou from being deported to Senegal is to marry a German. Because in Frankfurt's high-rise settlement there isn’t a woman who would be willing to marry the macho, Babtou's best buddy Dennis steps in. The two ghetto boys spend their "wedding night" with half-naked women in a striptease shack, but before the immigration authorities come to the door to check whether a fake marriage could be involved, a queer lifestyle has to be simulated as quickly as possible. Rainbow flags and a lamp in an obvious shape are just the improvised beginning, because soon a world beyond their stereotypes of homosexuality opens up for the two; but they also get to experience the intolerance and narrow-mindedness of their previous environment. For all its pointed satirical sharpness, this "buddy movie", told with a lot of wit and street credibility, never loses sight of its serious background: its examination of migration policy and racist and sexist prejudices.

Italian Cultural Institute:

Film L’Ombra del Giorno, duration 125 minutes

Screening Friday 14th October @ 8.30pm

The Italian Cultural Institute La Valletta—which is also the Cultural Office of the Embassy of Italy in Malta—will introduce…L'Ombra del Giorno. This movie is set in a provincial town (Ascoli Piceno) in the late thirties. Luciano, a sympathizer of fascism like the vast majority of Italians, is the owner of a restaurant who nevertheless believes he can live according to the rules he has given himself, in a sort of isolation from the outside world. But on the window overlooking the ancient square, together with the worrying signs of something that is about to happen in the world, a girl appears carrying a secret with her. Her name is Anna and she manages to get hired in the restaurant. Since then, life will never be the same for Luciano and together with the dangers he faces, there is the greatest of all: love.

Embassy of Poland:

Film The Balcony Movie, duration 100 minutes

Screening Friday 14th October 2022 @ 6pm

Can anyone be a movie hero? Can the world be locked in one film frame? Director Paweł Łoziński is watching people from his balcony as they are passing by: sad, thoughtful, glued to their phones, young and old. Neighbours, random visitors or simply passers-by. The filmmaker accosts them, asks questions, talks about how they deal with life. Standing there with his camera for over 2 years he has created a space for dialogue, a lay confessional of sorts, where everyone can stop by and tell their story. The protagonists carry secrets and mysteries, and are not easy to label. Every story is unique, and life always surpasses imagination.

British Council Malta:

Series of short films, total duration 75 minutes

Screening Sunday 16th October 2022 @ 8.30pm

The Embassy of the UK and the British Council will show the short movies The Elvermen, Eve, The Promise, Samaritan and Songs of the Earth. The Elvermen by Isla Badenoch is an atmospheric short film shot over a moonlit night that reveals a hidden community hunting an endangered fish. Eve by Natalie Portman tells a story about a young woman called Kate visiting her grandmother to talk about her mother "Eve", but instead she surprisingly ends up as both chauffeur and chaperone on her grandmother's romantic dinner date with a widower named Joe. Samaritan by Dustin Curtis Murphy is about an immigrant doctor fearing deportation who lives off the grid and stumbles upon the body of recently kidnapped politician. Songs of Earth by Soumik Datta follows Asha, a young climate refugee from Bengal as she searches for her missing father through the floodbanks of the Sundarban delta.

EU Commission Malta:

Series of short films, total duration 66 minutes

Screening Wednesday 12th October 2022 @ 6pm

The EU Commission will introduce the short movies A Sunny Day, Olmo, Hungry Seagull, Kokota, Thermostat 6 and Tuã Ingugu. A Sunny Day by Moroccan director Faouzi Bensaïdi is about how men and women survive under the impact of a changing climate in a distant and near future, both fantastic and absurd. Hungry Seagull by Chinese director Leon Wang focuses on the lives of a family of seagulls living on an island not far from the mainland, and how they survive amidst the threat of offshore overfishing and the pollution of the marine environment.

Olmo by Italian director Silvio Soldini is about an 80-year-old grandfather and his grandson Giulio who read an article from a newspaper about melting glaciers, the greenhouse effect, methane and CO2. Instead of going to school, the two go on an adventure looking for an old tree. Tuã Ingugu, by Brazilian director Daniela Thomas, captures the relationship between the Xingu community and their river, and the emotions of one of them when he is taken to see the Sao Paulo rivers. Kokota: The Islet of Hope by Craig Norris tells a story about a man who visits a tiny neighboring islet called Kokota and tries to help after seeing the island teeter towards a collapse due to climate change and deforestation. Thermostat 6 by Maya Av-Ron is a humorous French-language animated movie which examines attitudes around climate change as well as introducing the topic for younger learners.

Since EUNIC Malta would like to provide general access to culture for all people, visitors of the film festival will not have to pay a fee in order to watch the movies. However, registration for visit the film festival is required.

EUNIC European Film Festival at Spazju Kreattiv 2021

The EUNIC Malta Cluster's first event consists of a film festival, in collaboration with Spazju Kreattiv at St. James Cavalier Centre for Creativity in Valletta. The festival presents nine films whose main theme revolves around sustainability, whether social, economic or environmental.

Luzzu is the local film which was showcased at this film festival. Following the screening, the public had the opportunity to interact with film director Alex Camilleri through a live Q&A session.

Read more here.