This month will be seeing the 3rd edition of the Valletta Film Festival, which first opened its doors in 2015. The Valletta Film Festival, along with five other cultural annual events, is funded by Arts Council Malta under the festival section of the Cultural Partnership Agreements scheme. The aim is for this film festival to be recognised as a premier film festival in the Mediterranean region by 2020. Organised by Film Grain Foundation, the Valletta Film Festival exhibits over 50 films per year, and hosts hundreds of film professionals.

During the past two years, over 15,000 people attended the first two editions of the festival that exhibited 78 feature films and documentaries and 48 short films. Films are screened at a number of open-air venues and theatres around Valletta, Malta’s capital city.

This year, the festival will open with ‘Fortunata’, the new film by Italian actor and director Sergio Castelletti, which premiered at the Cannes Film Festival last May. The main character, played by Jasmine Trinca, received the Best Actress Award for her role at the Cannes Film Festival.

Other films which will be competing during this festival for the Triton Awards include ‘Spoor’ by Agnieszka Holland (Poland), ‘Insyriated’ by Philippe Van Leeuw (France, Belgium), and ‘Tom of Finland’ by Dome Karukoski (Finland, Sweden, Denmark, Germany). All feature films in the competition will premiere in the evening at the flagship venue of the festival, Pjazza Teatru Rjal. A number of documentaries will also be competing for the Best Documentary Award. These will be screened at Spazju Kreattiv at Saint James Cavalier and include amongst others ‘Beuys’ by Andres Veiel (Germany), ‘Everyday Heroes’ by Anne Dauphine-Julliand (France), ‘The Good Postman’ by Tonislav Hristov (Finland, Bulgaria), ‘Taste of Cement’ by Ziad Kalthoum (Germany, Lebanon, Syria, United Arab Emirates, Qatar), and ‘Brexitannia’ by Timothy George Kelly. Moreover, around 25 short films will also be competing for the Best Short Film category. These will also be screened at Spazju Kreattiv in Saint James Cavalier, and will be presented in a number of three or four-hour programmes.

A section named ‘Without Borders’, highlighting films from a particular country or region, will this year focus on cinema originating in Latin America. All films are eligible for theValletta Film Festival Audience Award. Some of the films in this section include ‘Woodpeckers’ by Jose Maria Cabral (Dominician Republic), ‘Arabia’ by Affonso Uchoa & Joao Dumans (Brazil), ‘The Grown-Ups’ by Maite Alberdi (Chile), ‘The Distinguished Citizen’ by Gastón Duprat & Mariano Cohn (Argentina, Spain), and ‘La Familia’ by Gustavo Rondon Cordova (Venezuela).

Another important section of the festival, named ‘Islanders’, is open to productions set on islands, or produced by citizens of island nations, states or regions. Supported by the Valletta 2018 Foundation, this year’s edition of Islanders will feature, amongst others, ‘Burning Birds’ by Sanjeewa Pushakumara (Sri Lanka), ‘Boy on the Bridge’ by Petros Charalambous (Cyprus), and ‘Birdshot’ by Mikhail Red (Philippines, Qatar). A selection of coming-of-age films, under the title ‘Teens Only’ will also be competing for the Tritons Teens Choice Award. A number of films in this section include ‘1:54′ by Yan England (Canada), ‘Home’ by Fien Troch (Belgium) and Swagger’ by Olivier Babinet (France).

The third edition of the Valletta Film Festival will be taking place from Friday 16 to Sunday 25 June 2017. One can attend the festival by purchasing individual tickets for screenings and events or by purchasing a festival pass that gives access to all screenings and talks. For more information, visit http://www.vallettafilmfestival.com/vff-2017-announcements/.