Is-Sriep Regghu Saru Velenuzi (A Vipers’ Pit)
Teodor Reljić adapted Alex Vella Gera’s award-winning and bestselling novel Is-Sriep Reġgħu Saru Velenużi (Merlin) for Shadeena Entertainment. Awarded the National Book Council’s landmark feature film fund, the film was directed and produced by Martin Bonnici, and premiered in Maltese cinemas on 6 August.
A sins-of-the-father story that toggles between 1984 and 2012, ‘Is-Sriep’ – English title: ‘A Vipers’ Pit’ – explores the violent legacy of post-Independence Malta, and its haunting echoes over the decades. Find out more.
Praise for A Vipers’ Pit
“The future looks bright for local film productions if this is the standard we can build on. The brand of corruption portrayed in Is-Sriep is poignantly recognisable […] It is made clear in the film that the malaises of our modern days have a root in our past, and that those who do not know the past are doomed to repeat it.”
Lara Zammit, Times of Malta
“A masterful conclusion places the film’s story within a narrative of our own times, of more localised problems: power. Money too, of course, but ultimately, the power that money can buy over the lives of others […] at this intersection in Maltese political history, it’s no longer ‘ideology’ or ‘values’ that propel a reactionary middle-class against the ham-fisted socialist reforms of the 1980s or Labour’s demands for Church schools to be free of charge. Now it is money, and for the Tabones, “Joseph is our man”… because that’s how democracy (bank)rolls.”
Matthew Vella, MaltaToday
“One of the few cases when I am not sorry that a book has been given the big-screen treatment. The film version of Sriep cuts right to the bone.”
Ramona Depares, blogger and cultural journalist
“There is a collective charisma and charm about all [the] characters, brought together triumphantly by a tight script and mature directing, which made for a satisfying and startling adaptation of a novel that seemed, at first glance, tricky to translate to the screen […] In a bleak landscape torn between the 1984 political crisis and the unscrupulous free-market capitalism of 2012, the script finds ways to be funny, charming, touching, even terrifying.“
David Hudson, blogger and author
Also for Shadeena Entertainment, Teodor Reljić has co-written Camilla, a short film adaptation of the Clare Azzopardi short story of the same name, adding a liberal sprinkling of Joseph Sheridan Le Fanu’s landmark vampire fiction novella Carmilla.
The winner of the National Book Council’s Literary Short Film Contest in 2018, Camilla was co-written and directed by Stephanie Sant and stars Steffi Thake, Irene Christ and Peter Galea. It premiered on November 10, 2018 at the Malta Book Festival.
Watch it here.
Praise for Camilla
“Absolutely first rate. The writing is especially good: the elliptical but not obscure dialogue, the deliberate omission of connective narrative material, the comic touches. I loved the framing in many of the shots, the use of doorways and door frames and windows. The lead actress, Steffi Thake, was especially amazing. The greatest compliment I can give is to say that I thought it should have been longer. Superb.”
James Grainger, Toronto Star’s horror columnist
“Perverse, dangerous, and slyly political, Camilla quietly dissects gender politics, same sex love affairs, and the relationship between generations, while riffing off Le Fanu’s famous 1871 vampire novel, by way of Azzopardi’s 2014 short story of the same name. Maltese gothic at its finest.”
Jon Courtenay Grimwood, award-winning author of The Last Banquet and the Assassini trilogy
“There’s a lot of pastiche around, a lot of riffs on classics nowadays. But not every creator is able to take something from the canon and remake it so freshly that it becomes a new thing, in and of itself. Stephanie Sant and Teodor Reljić’s Camilla is simply glorious.”
Angela Slatter, author of the World Fantasy Award-winning The Bitterwood Bible and Other Recountings
“Camilla combines the timeless premise of vampirism with the haunting evocations of present-day Malta, all of which is conveyed with a poetic intuition and fruitful elegance that never strays from its core sense of feeling real. The result is a sensuous, detailed story, pulling off a rare complexity within its short run time. It emerges from the traditional tropes of literary horror—while also retaining them—with a freshness and vigour of innovative modern storytelling. There is, in tandem, an emotional sensibility that reinforces the supernatural elements of the tale with a deep psychological conviction. The clever but unobtrusive involvement of epitaphs, both as a theme and plot device, is adapted with an elegiac playfulness which shows in the writers, Teodor Reljić and Stephanie Sant, an obvious flair for originality, which also places them firmly as highly promising future talents in the film-making industry.”
Alistair Rennie, author and musician (Bleakwarrior, Ruptured World)
Storja ta’ Storja (2019-20)
Commissioned by the National Book Council and produced by Sajjetta in collaboration with Shadeena Entertainment, ‘Storja ta’ Storja’ is a unique 8-part docuseries, with each episode focusing on an individual award-winning Maltese author.