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Interview With Dr Ing. Chris Micallef Winner of Cinefern Film Award and Competition

THE GIANT DEEP REDS a Film Written, Directed and Produced by Dr Ing. Chris Micallef won Best Cinematography award at Cinefern Film Award and Competition's December 2019.


The Film is about The sea, home to a treasure trove of species from the microscopic to the gargantuan has one particular gem. We take a look at this predator of the seas, the most valuable commodity, the third most harvested fish of the seas, the bluefin tuna.

Chris started his filming career way back in 1977 at the age of nine in one of his father’s productions, Maurice Micallef in “The boy and the red ball”. This film won him best actor award. In 1980 he repeated his best acting performance in yet another of his father’s films “My Brother’s Keeper”. In 1985, Chris started producing his own productions. “Life Line for a City”, his first documentary about the aqueducts in Malta won him no less than nine awards both locally and abroad. These productions have won major awards in Malta, as well as international awards and highly commended diplomas in Austria, Spain, Ireland, Slovenia, Yugoslavia, Canada, Japan, and the Channel Islands, including the prestigious Ten Best awards in Australia, England and the United States of America. Chris was also awarded the PSA VMPD title as holder of a gold medal award in a competition held in Mississippi, twice in succession, California and in Chicago, USA. Recent achievements are the Grand Jury Prize-Best Documentary Feature and Best Director in the New York Film & Video Festival that was held in Las Vegas 2005 and New York 2006, for the film, The Phoenicians, making this the first feature documentary film awarded in the professional level and documentary theatre show in Las Vegas.

The Phoenicians was also nominated for Best European Documentary for the International Film & Video Festival held in Poland in 2007. Excerpts of another documentary about the Mnajdra temple were also aired in Japan on TBS Vision and on Channel 4 in the UK. Other recent awards were the Rising Star Award and Award of Excellence in the Canadian Independent Film Festival in 2010 and 2011; awards for documentary and script-writing for the Phoenicians in the Accolade Competition 2010 and Best Shorts Competition in 2011; three Gold Awards in the Prestige Film Awards for documentary, research and history for The Phoenicians in 2011; two Indie Fest Awards and two Accolade awards, the Silver Sierra Award at Yosemite Film Festival and the Platinum Award in Nevada Film Festival for the Tal Qadi Stone in 2010 and in 2011 and Indie Fest Award for Creativity and Originality for the Experimental Film ‘19’ in 2011. The Phoenicians was also awarded the Platinum Award in the Hitflics Competition American Online Festival 2011. CMM Productions have to-date been awarded with 164 awards in film-making and are the first Maltese film-makers who have won in four different categories/genres in international competitions that is fiction, documentary, animation and experimental.

Chris Micallef is involved deeply in producing documentaries for One Productions. He has already produced, directed and scripted a number of documentaries.

Chris is an engineer by profession. Today, Chris is the Department Manager (People Management) of JobsPlus. He studied engineering at the University of Malta and graduated in 1992. In 2000 he obtained his Masters degree in Business Administration from Henley Management College and in 2009 obtained his doctorate degree in social sciences from the University of Leicester. He became the first Maltese to graduate with a doctorate degree in social sciences from the University of Leicester. He also holds a diploma in Art from the School of Art, Valletta.

His research for the documentary on the Mnajdra temples has led towards the publication of two papers on prestigious scientific journals, one on his discovery of the Mnajdra lower temple’s main axis aligned towards the phases of the moon and the possible use of the megalithic yard as a possible measurement that the ancients used to construct the temple and the other is the enigmatic interpretation of the Tal Qadi stone, which may represent a moon calendar. He still occasionally delivers talks to foreign guests who are interested on his discoveries at Mnajdra. Both Professor Frank Ventura in his book ‘L-astronomijaf’Malta’ and well known international author Graham Hancock mentions Chris’s theory on Mnajdra in his best seller ‘UnderWorld’ wheras Peter Marshall mentions the Tal Qadi stone proposal by Chris Micallef in his book, ‘Europe’s Lost Civilization’.

Interview With Dr Ing. Chris Micallef

Q: What is the basic Idea Behind the film?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: The basic idea of the documentary film ‘The Giant Deep Reds’ is to provide a good insight on what is the Bluefin Tuna and its importance to mankind throughout the ages.

Q: How do you handle the Pre-Production, and Post Production?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: Pre-production is handled through a number of meetings with my father Maurice who directed the documentary. Post-production is handled in the same manner. Being a father and son team facilitates matters.

Q: What do you do to stay calm during Production of the film?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: Planning is of essence. Nothing is decided ad hoc. We always have a B-Plan up our sleeves just in case we encounter any difficulties whilst filming.

Q: What sort of stories excites you?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: The lives of people, the difficulties faced, and anything which arouses the intelligence of mankind.

Q: Do you think all the good stories have already been made into a movie?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: No, not at all. There are many good stories that still have not unfolded and those that have not been written yet.

Q: While casting for your film you prefer to cast a well known face or any new face which fit the character?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: Although we produce documentaries, in the past we produced small award-winning fiction films. We always preferred a new face that fits the character.

Q: What is the most enjoyable thing about Production of the film?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: The most enjoyable thing is providing knowledge to the audience which would enhance and enrich their lives and meeting other people through their normal working day routine. Filming documentaries provides you the key to access this.

Q: What is the best possible way to promote your film when you are on a tight budget?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: The best possible way is doing most post production jobs yourselves. Editing is one of them.

Q: When your next film is coming and what is it about?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: It is a historical set-piece and is about the roman period in the Maltese Islands.

Q: What advice do you want to give to the new and upcoming filmmakers?

Dr Ing. Chris Micallef: Never give up. Chase your dreams. We started in the most modest of ways. Today we have 638 filmmaking awards won in several competitions around the world through our productions. Check our website.


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