The Malta Independent 21 September 2019, Saturday

Hollywood A-Listers Harvey Keitel, Malcolm McDowell to star in Sette Giugno movie

Albert Galea Wednesday, 4 September 2019, 13:21 Last update: about 17 days ago

Hollywood A-Listers Harvey Keitel and Malcolm McDowell will star in a feature film which will tell the story of the 1919 Sette Giugno riots in Malta.

The film, which will be called ‘Storbju’ in Maltese and ‘Just Noise’ in English will start filming next month, with its release date slated to be midway through next year.

Keitel, who has starred in films such as ‘Taxi Driver’, ‘Pulp Fiction’, and ‘The Grand Budapest Hotel’, will play the role of then acting Governor Walter Charles Hunter Blaire while McDowell, known for his role in Stanley Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’ and who also received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, is expected to reprise the role of Colonel Saville.

The film will be directed by Italian film director Davide Ferrario while Jean Pierre Magro will be the film’s producer. A team of 64 technical personnel currently make up the crew behind the film, while there will also be a total of 28 speaking parts.

All efforts are being made by the crew so that the film is presented in a historically accurate manner.  One such examples is in how the uniforms for the British soldiers are being acquired, with all the uniforms being specially made in the United Kingdom by the same company which used to make them way back in 1919.

Arts Council Chairman Albert Marshall said that this is a very important moment not just for the film industry in Malta but for the cultural sector as this is likely the first time that the government is totally committed to a unique feature film which will celebrate a Maltese story.

Producer Jean Pierre Magro said that he had once thought that making a film about Malta and selling it internationally was impossible; but today, the film is already sold abroad.  The fact that Hollywood stars of Keitel’s and McDowell’s calibre have been attracted for this film shows, Magro said, that Maltese artists are able to achieve the same as any other artists.

“This is not just our story; it is the story of the whole nation”, Magro said.  He noted that the film is still looking for extras with a thin build to take part in the film.  He said that there is one last casting call taking place this coming Saturday – 7 September – between 5pm and 9pm at the Catholic Institute in Floriana, and encouraged those interested to apply.

Film director Davide Ferrario spoke of his excitement to direct this film and to showcase Malta for what it truly is.  He said that while location scouting, he had come across many beautiful places.  The Manoel Theatre, which hosted Wednesday’s press conference, is one such location and will be incorporated into one of the movie’s scenes.

He said that the movie is one of an international profile and is being treated that way.  Ferrario said that he was impressed with the Maltese actors that he has worked with so far, saying that he is sure that they will do a great job, especially in the Maltese-speaking parts.

Culture Minister Owen Bonnici said that the government wants more people to learn about Malta’s history, which is why it is investing in the project.  He noted that the film medium was advantageous as it can relay the story to foreign audiences, and can also strike a chord with the younger generation.

Tourism Minister Konrad Mizzi said that the film will put Malta on the map.  He said that it will be an important stage in the development of the film sector in Malta, noting that the Film Commission is working on the regeneration of the country’s film studios, including its water tanks, to keep up with the times.

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