INTERVIEW: Stephen Rota

Malta Film Icon talks with director Stephen Rota about his first short film 'Life Cycle'

1) What's the message behind this short film

The message is that we live and we die, leaving behind only memories and mourning.  Some die, some are born, but we can do nothing about it, that is the life cycle.

2) How did you come up with this idea?

This short film came from personal experiences.  My grandma suffered from dementia, it was that period when my grandparents died and after some time my first child was born. I was constantly asking myself what is the meaning of life.  Did I answer this question in this film? Definitely not, but making the film served me as a form of therapy.  The theme was very personal, in fact I named one character after my son, and another after myself.

 3) Would you change anything if you’ll make this project all over again?

It was my first film, and I ended up doing everything by myself: writing, directing, filming, lights, editing, sound, location was a good experience but in this way you cannot give 100% attention to all the details.  So approaching the film more professionally and trying to build a team would be a most welcome change.  Having said that I would like to mention that the film won best film and best director in the Malta Cine Circle competition and also an international award of Merit, so I might have done something right.

4) What was the total time of production?

From jotting down the first lines to releasing the film it took me between 4-5 years.  The film required that the young boy gets older in the later scenes of the film as time passes.  Today I realize that this was a mammoth project, especially for a first timer.  At the time I did not think that other shorts would follow, all that mattered was that I do it.  Today I realize that you cannot take that long to do a short, it is simply not practical.

5) Any future plans?

Since this short, I have joined with Melchior and Roderick Vella Cesare to direct 'This is Not for Sale', penned by Melchior.  For me it was a very positive experience as it is a totally different story with a modern mindset.  It helped me to explore more the film medium and to understand it better.


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