Memento Films International (“Call Me By Your Name”) has boarded Alex Camilleri’s “Luzzu,” which will unspool in competition at the Sundance Film Festival as part of the World Cinema Dramatic Competition.
Penned, directed and edited by Camilleri, “Luzzu” revolves around Jesmark, a struggling fisherman on the island of Malta who is forced to risk everything by entering the world of blackmarket fishing in order to provide for his wife and newborn baby. On his journey to improve life for his family, Jesmark abandons tradition and discovers a shadow economy of blackmarket fishing, smuggling and sabotage.
“Luzzu,” the first Maltese feature to compete in a major international festival, delivers a rare glimpse into the island and stars both non-actors and professionals in lead roles. The movie is produced by Rebecca Anastasi, Ramin Bahrani (“The White Tiger,” “99 Homes”), Camilleri and Oliver Mallia. Memento Films International will represent world sales.
“‘Luzzu’ is a deeply personal film about the sacrifices families make for love and survival, set in the rare, cinematic world of Malta’s traditional fishermen,” said Camilleri, a Maltese-American filmmaker who is an alum of both the Sundance and Film Independent labs.
“Memento Films have been behind some of my favorite international films for more than a decade. It’s an honor to partner with them on my debut feature film,” added the filmmaker, whose previous credits as an editor include Tribeca prize-winning “Keep The Change” and “Blood Kin,” which played at Venice in 2018.
“Luzzu” shot in Malta and was made with the support of the Malta Film Fund and financial incentives from the Malta Film Commission and the Government of Malta. The project was pitched at Les Arcs Film Festival’s industry Village.
“We’re incredibly proud of Alex and of our talented and almost entirely local cast and crew. We can’t wait to show the world just how much this little island of ours has to offer,” said Anastasi and Mallia.
Memento Films International’s team described the pic as “a beautiful discovery” set on a “magical and rarely-seen on-screen island.”
Camilleri has worked closely with acclaimed filmmaker Bahrani for over a decade, notably as an associate editor on his movie “99 Homes.” “In ‘Luzzu,’ [Memento Films International] saw what I saw: the emergence of a great new director, Alex Camilleri,” said Bahrani.
Memento Films International also recently launched sales on Philippe Lacôte “Night Of The Kings,” which was acquired by Neon in Venice.