A film produced by a Maltese national studying in the US has been shortlisted for an Emmy award, a prize cherished by directors across the globe.

The film – Magic Mouse – was produced by 25-year-old Luke Zammit who moved to the US to pursue a career in film. He produced the film for his thesis project as part of a Master of Fine Arts in film production at the Full Sail University in Florida.

Speaking to this newspaper, days after being shortlisted for the student Emmy, Mr Zammit said that while he had put his heart and soul into the project, the nomination still came as a surprise.

“I always believed in the project and knew we had created something special. But a student Emmy nomination in the US was never planned and probably never even dreamt of. I am still in a feeling of disbelief,” Mr Zammit said.

The nomination is a first for any student at Full Sail, something the budding director took great pride in.

Luke Zammit (centre).Luke Zammit (centre).

The film is about a downtrodden office worker who gains the ability to manipulate the environment around him using his mouse cursor. Funds for the film were raised through crowdfunding campaign via platform Indiegogo launched last year. By then, Mr Zammit had already made three other short films and also worked on others in different roles.

“The projects I worked on last year while studying in Florida have been selected in a number of other film festivals around the US, some even winning awards.

I am still in a feeling of disbelief

“However, this is by far the most prestigious. This gives me the confidence to keep working hard in one of the hardest industries to break into,” the filmmaker said.

The Emmy nomination also gives Mr Zammit the opportunity to showcase his work to a wider audience, especially since the film has yet to be made available to the public. While it has yet to hit big screens, a number of showings at festivals are already lined up, he said.

“We have also received a positive acceptance from the Maryland Film Festival, where the film will premiere this weekend and the Central Florida Film Festival later on in the year.

Magic Mouse has also been submitted to the local film festivals namely the Valletta Film Festival and the Malta International TV Short Film Festival,” Mr Zammit said. While busy circulating the film at different festivals, Mr Zammit does not plan to slow down, insisting that filmmakers never stop working on new projects.

“I’ve found that if you sit down to write a script, you most certainly end up not writing it. It’s hard to find inspiration when you’re sitting at a desk hoping for a great idea to come along.

“As I get about my daily life any and every idea, whether it is the plot, a character or a line of dialogue which comes to me for whatever reason I make sure to jot it down on my phone. Every now and then I go through the list to see if there is anything worth developing further,” he said.

While the 25-year-old did leave the country to pursue his career, choosing to move to the US to be at the heart of the industry, Mr Zammit said that a filmmaker could even start off using the camera on a mobile phone, insisting the most important element of a good film was its story. “You don’t need any expensive gear to start out, the camera on your phone will do. Just remember focus should always be on the story.”

The Emmy awards ceremony will take place on May 24.


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