88 minutes – Drama
Languages: English, Maltese
Festival release date: December 4, 2021 (World Premiere, Whistler Film Festival)
Release date: August 19, 2022
Production companies: Aiken Heart Films, Falkun Films
Canadian distributor: Storyboard Media
U.S. distributor: Good Deed Entertainment
Carmen stars Natascha McElhone as a 50-year-old woman finding a new start in life through romance. In Malta, it is tradition for the younger sister to devote her life to the church when an older brother enters the priesthood. Inspired in part by the real experiences of writer-director Valarie Buhagiar’s own aunt Rita, Carmen lives a life of servitude from the age of 16 until 50, when her brother dies. Realizing her own mortality, it’s time to leave the church and make up for lost time. Through a set of odd circumstances, she finds herself hearing confessions in her late brother’s local church, to the delight of many parishioners.
Carmen was given the Borsos Award for Best Cinematography at the 2021 Whistler Film Festival. It is named for the late filmmaker Phillip Borsos.