Ernest Camilleri should need no introduction to my Maltese readers, a local legend as regards costume design and I already spoke about him two days ago in an article that highlighted the differences between costume and fashion...
As promised here is Ernest Camilleri's interview ...in his own words he describes to us the process a costume designer goes through when working on a film and the downs and ups of his job.
First of all - tell us something about yourself and how you got started working in the world of film
I had been designing and making costumes since the age of 13, when I used to create costumes for the Gozo Carnival. A few years later I went to MTADA (Manoel Theatre Academy of Dramatic Arts) where I studied drama and costume. When the course was over I was asked to design costumes for the Pantomime and following that it was a rollercoaster ride of designing/making costumes for several theatre and dance productions.
In the world of film it all started when PCP Company asked me to style a commercial for Corona Beer which included a number of pirate and British army uniforms from the period of the late 18'00s. From then on I ended up working regularly in films and commercials.
Over the past few years I also started working on international events such as the London Olympic Flag Handover and most recently the Winter Olympics.
Were you familiar with the story of Simshar when you were asked to come on board..was it a story that had particular meaning or interest in any way for you ?
3 years ago Rebecca contacted me and told me that she had plans to create a film about the Simshar story. I was familiar with the actual happening of Simshar as it was all over the news, so I was very excited when I was presented with this opportunity to design costumes for a film based on actual facts; I had to re-create characters of actual people, giving them a look to suit the purposes of the film. This is not that easy.
How did you go about planning the various outfits?
After having read the script and discussed it with Rebecca, I started researching the characters and what relation they have to the story. Rebecca wished to make the film colour graded, meaning certain colours would convey the mood, so we took it a step further were I dressed certain actors in certain colours. At first look most of these things would go unnoticed but then the eye will start to associate certain colours with certain actors and certain moods.
And how do you go about creating them?
This is the actual fun part, the point at which the design actually becomes alive. There is fabric sourcing, buying second hand clothes and shoes, hiring of uniforms and making of uniforms. We also went about dyeing and ageing almost all the costumes to give them a worn look and even making band new costumes and ageing them to make them look real. The list is never ending.
What was your biggest hurdle throughout production of the movie?
I would say that we had to do an awful lot to do with little time and money.
The première and release date is almost here...are you excited to see what everyone is going to think?
I am sure that all people involved are excited about the première as this movie will raise the bar of the local film industry.
What is your answer to anyone who is still unsure about going to watch the movie?
Go and watch the movie, you will definitely enjoy it as it has a human side to it and not just a story.
And what will you be wearing to the première...any sneak peek available?