At last, Amazing Traditional Folklore Put to Film!

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While I have to admit I’m rather bias in sharing these videos featuring Folkloric Tales told using animation, narration and contemporary musical score, I think anyone who hits play will agree the production and the stories themselves are fascinating to watch.

While the puppetry-esque presentation denotes a flavour of Indian Ramayana, this series called ĦREJJEF (translated as ‘Fiction’), conceptualised and composed by Ruben Zahrais unique in that it captures the little known Folklore connected with the small and ancient Mediterranean island of Malta (I said earlier I’m bias because I was born on this Island).

The first video is a fable about a King with a horn on his head, that serves almost as a lesson for viewers in self-acceptence and honestly; where as the second depicts a story of a shoemaker who uses his smarts to out wit a pesky Giant.


‘ĦREJJEF – Maltese Folktales is a captivating, interdisciplinary production which brings together traditional folktales, shadow puppetry, contemporary music and digital animation. At its core lies a collection of four Maltese folktales, presented in the style of a traditional storyteller accompanied by a live score that acts as a soundtrack to the stories. Ruben Zahra’s music is contemporary in style, made up of a cycle of etudes for piano solo. The animations have been developed to reflect the style of shadow puppetry. The ‘digital puppets’ are highly ornamented with decorative perforations inspired from Maltese baroque motifs, filigree and traditional lace. While the actor narrates the folktales, a video sequence is projected as a backdrop to the performance and the characters of the stories come to life on the screen. This project was also released as a book-CD publication in bi-lingual setting: Maltese and English. The publication is based on the production, featuring a collection folktales illustrated by different Maltese artists.’

Credits: Conception and music composition by: Ruben Zahra; pianist: Tricia Dawn Williams; narrator: Isabelle Gatt; translations: Marilyn Mangion; animation produced by Shadeena; directed and animated by Martin Bonniċi; production design by Nel Pace.

Videos commissioned by Żigużajg Arts Festival for Children & Young People 2012


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