Documentary Film Making in Malta

September 2019

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Students visited a number of film locations and gathered footage of their own for a series of travel documentaries.

Sixth Form Media Studies students have returned from a week-long trip to Malta where they gathered extensive footage for a series of travel documentaries as part of their coursework. They filmed in various locations across the island and are now in the process of editing their footage in the studio.

Students are all completing a diverse range of coursework units, which have been specially selected to give them a broad overview of the media industry. They have already produced a professional lifestyle magazine for young people to develop skills in journalism and graphic design, and this most recent unit offers the opportunity to produce a factual film product and build skills in script writing, presenting, filming and editing.

Malta is an excellent international destination for media studies; it has a rich history of film making with TV favourites such as Game of Thrones filmed there, alongside a host of blockbuster movies including Gladiator, Troy, World War Z, Captain Phillips and the 1980 musical production of ‘Popeye’ starring Robin Williams.

Students visited the Popeye film set at ‘Anchor Bay’ in the North of Malta; this authentic wooden village was built from scratch in seven months for the movie but remains on the island as a tourist attraction. They were able to explore the various buildings and study the original props, which all form part of the quirky ‘Sweet Haven Village’.

The group also visited Mdina, also known as the Silent City, which appears frequently in the hugely popular TV show ‘Game of Thrones’. This fortified city is home to only 292 residents, however thousands of tourists visit each year to admire it’s Baroque architecture and experience the peace and quiet which lies within the narrow winding streets. This was one of the most popular excursions.

The capital city of Valletta offered students multiple opportunities for filming; the group witnessed the daily firing of the canons across the Grand Harbour, which is a long-standing tradition carried out by the Maltese Guard, visited Barrakka Gardens, learned about the strong British connections and WWII history, and strolled around the atmospheric streets which are all lit with strings of lights at night.

Other activities included a cruise to Comino, Gozo and the Blue Lagoon, a visit to the Malta 5D Experience and Mdina’s Museum of Crime and Punishment, an evening cruise around the three harbours and a trip to Malta’s Mediterraneo Marine Park. The group also left a lasting memory of their trip by way of a padlock attached to the famous Tigne Bridge in Sliema; similar to those across Europe, this bridge displays thousands of padlocks left by visitors to symbolise everlasting love and friendship. Students due to take part in the next trip in September 2020 will be sure to find it and attach their own to maintain the tradition.

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