INTERVIEW: Josef Cauchi

Malta Short Film Festival’s Best Director winner Josef Cauchi talks with Malta Film Icon about his experience on his latest short film ‘Butterfly’.

1) How long did it take to complete this short?

Butterfly is a short movie I created with Christina Cauchi and it tells the story of a butterfly through the medium of dance. It took us 6 months in all, from inception to the final edit. The stage in the filmmaking process that took the most time was location check. I studied 4 different locations to search for an area which was perfect for our short, before agreeing on filming in Ta’ Qali Park and Mistra in Mellieha.

2) What's the real meaning behind this film?

The idea was to tell a story about this butterfly that faces some events in its life which reflect those that happen to us humans too. The butterfly is born beautiful, it explores the world, meets other butterflies and has to face several challenges and obstacles...its life gets complicated and you win some and you lose some...just as what happens to us. And all this is told in about 7 minutes.

3) In your opinion what makes a screenplay satisfiable to film?

As long as it tells an interesting story and it is character driven, then it’s filmable. People want to connect to the main characters, want to know what happens next to them in the challenges they are facing as events unfold.

4) As a director what do you look for in films?

Story, and the way it is told. You can have all the money in the world or all the technology or the biggest stars in your movie, but if you don’t have a good story to tell, then the film is a failure before it even starts production. In any movie, the way a story is told is equally important as a good story. In the hands of a good director, a good story can end up becoming a classic movie.

5) Can you share with us some of your experiences and limitations while working in films?

The biggest limitation us Maltese filmmakers face all the time is actually TIME. Most of us cannot dedicate the amount of time they wish to this art and so some elements within our films might be overlooked or rushed...and it results in us not pushing our movie to its full potential.

6) Do you think short movies or feature films are still an effective tool to send out messages to individuals/groups/societies?

I think movies in any length or in any way they’re being broadcast are extremely powerful in sending a message. Some documentaries opened the eyes of many on some issues we were not even aware of. Also, we now live in the youtube era so it very easy to share your story, your idea, your message.

7) Any future projects?

Butterfly is definitely my biggest accomplishment so far as it got me awarded “Best Local Director” at the Malta TV Short Film Festival. Now, where do I go after that? The next one must be bigger, it must be better, it must be amazing. Right now, I’m doing some writing and thinking about new stories.


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