Director Alex Camilleri admits he knew nothing of Malta’s fishing community, “Prior to making LUZZU, I knew very little about fishing in Malta”, he says. “Not only that: I had never even gone fishing in my life! However, the beautiful and eclipsing world of Malta’s traditional fishermen has long captured my imagination. When I began my research for the film, I quickly saw that questions of family, fate, and sacrifice — things I wondered about in my own life —weighed on many fishermen”.
He adds, “I started going to sea with Jesmark and David, the real fisherman who became my leads, and filmed short documentaries as they worked. This was a way for me to learn their fishing methods: how every piece of equipment on their boats worked, how the nets should be laid in the sea, and all the various species of fish and their respective market value.
These days also allowed Jesmark and David to get accustomed to the camera. I took great inspiration from these fishing expeditions and wrote the scenarios I encountered directly into the script. My only regret is that my standards for seafood were set unfairly high, eating only fresh catches from my leading men! “
The results of Camilleri’s hands-on research can be seen in this heart-rending debut feature.