Rebecca Anastasi (Luzzu Ltd) , Ramin Bahrani (NORUZ FILMS)
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When she forms an unusual friendship with an old folksinger, a young woman must learn the ancient art of għana to confront past failures and heal a generations-old rift in her family.
A contemporary comedy-drama set in the colorful world of Maltese folk music, featuring real artists from this unheralded community.
Mar Zahra is in a rut: both her marriage and career fell apart, and at age thirty, she thinks life is over. A chance encounter with the elderly troubadour, Nenu, opens her ears to the strange and beautiful tradition of għana, Maltese folk singing. The music brings new hope into her life, but forces a personal reckoning with the painful secrets buried in her family tree.
As I did in my debut, LUZZU, I will take audiences past the touristic view of Malta — in ŻEJTUNE we’ll discover charming non-actors and a totally unique musical tradition. I want to surprise viewers with complex characters, unexpected humor, and a fresh twist on genre. ŻEJTUNE is a “neorealist musical” combined with a road movie. It’s also a deeply personal, universal story about finding hope after your world ends — a pandemic film that isn’t about the pandemic at all. I can’t wait to take you on the road to ŻEJTUNE.
Alex Camilleri is a Maltese-American writer, director, editor, and producer. His debut feature, LUZZU, premiered to wide acclaim at the 2021 Sundance Film Festival, where it won the Special Jury Award for Acting. LUZZU became a festival favorite, winning jury, audience, and directing awards along the way. The film has been released theatrically in 15+ territories around the world (rated “100% Fresh” on Rotten Tomatoes) and was Malta’s submission to the 94th Academy Awards. Camilleri won the 2022 “Someone To Watch” Independent Spirit Award and is repped by WME.
Rebecca Anastasi (Nizza Films, Malta) worked in international film production for seventeen years. She was a programmer for Valletta Film Festival, spearheading events including the conference on the Cinema of Small Nations. In 2021, she produced LUZZU, a Sundance-winner and international festival breakout, which sold in territories worldwide. She is a visiting film lecturer at the University of Malta working towards her doctorate, and an alumna of Berlinale Talents (2021). In 2022, she established her company, Nizza Films.
Ramin Bahrani (Noruz Films, USA) is an Oscar-nominated writer, director and producer. His films have premiered in either the Cannes or Venice Film Festivals, where he has also served as President of the Debut Film jury. Film critic Roger Ebert named Bahrani “the director of the decade,” and his cinematic work is housed in the permanent collection at the Museum of Modern Art in NYC. Bahrani’s latest film, THE WHITE TIGER, was nominated for an Oscar, BAFTA, and was viewed globally 27 million times on Netflix. He was a producer of LUZZU.
Alex Camilleri (Malta) will also produce through Solari Productions.
Production company profile
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Confirmed budget in USD and source:
$47,350 — Malta Film Fund (Screen Malta), Development Grant