Mario Philip Azzopardi

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Mario Azzopardi (born 19 November 1950) is a Canadian/Maltese television and film director and writer.

He has worked on such shows as The Outer Limits, Stargate SG-1 (including its two-hour pilot), and Stargate Atlantis. In 2008 he directed all eight episodes of the highly acclaimed and award-winning HBO Canada/TMN miniseries ZOS: Zone of Separation, which he co created and produced. Mario Philip Azzopardi should not be confused with Maltese poet, short story writer and columnist Mario Azzopardi (born 1944), who is also involved in theatre and directs the Malta Drama Centre.[1]

In 1971, while still a student at the Royal University of Malta,[2] he directed Il-Gaġġa, based on Frans Sammut's novel Il-Gaġġa, presumed to be the first full-length feature filmed entirely in Maltese. Transferred to digital format and enhanced, the film was re-released in Malta in March 2007.[3] Around the same time he assisted Cecil Satariano during the making of "Giuseppi."

Azzopardi was born in Siggiewi, Malta, but left his native country for Canada in 1978, following a dispute with local censors and theatre authorities who, in 1977, had cancelled his play, Sulari Fuq Strada Stretta, on the grounds that it was too offensive[citation needed]; the play was eventually presented at the Manoel Theatre in January 2008.

Azzopardi was educated at St Aloysius' College (Birkirkara, Malta), and the Royal University of Malta.

Azzopardi is married to Therese and has three children, Lara Azzopardi, Kyra Azzopardi and Yari Azzopardi.

Return to Malta[edit]

In 2013 Azzopardi returns to his country of origin, Malta - establishing right away his Maltese theatrical company Stagun Teatru Malti, since then the procution company produces a wide array of original work in Maltese starting off with In-Nisa Maltin Jafu Kif; the nationwide success of Jiena Nhobb, Inti Thobb - a controversial play depicting the lives of several LGBT friends; Il-Kappillan Ta Malta - taken from the book by Nicholas Monsarrat; Sibna z-Zejt; Ix-Xitan Kunjomu Malti; Vassalli - an original play about Mikiel Anton Vassalli; Faith, Hope u Charity - a play set in World War 2; Habbilni Ha Nirbah; Marti Martek, Martek Marti; and Irbahna l-Lottu. All this while being appointed as the Artistic Director of Valletta 2018 and while producing or directing films such as Dangerous Arrangement; A Red Dress; and Saul: A Journey To Damascus.


Azzopardi courted controversy following comments made on his Facebook page in August 2014, agreeing with the 2001 decision taken by the European Court of Human Rights which had found that Sharia Law was incompatible with Democracy and basic human rights.[4] The V18 foundation issued a press release in which Mr Azzopardi was quoted as having apologized for the possible offence he could have caused by his personal views, expressed on 28 November, more than a year prior to his appointment as Artistic Director, after journalists from The Times of Malta publicised those views while interviewing Dr Owen Bonnici, the Minister of Culture, the previous day.[5] FROM Mario Philip Azzopardi: "My rant was and always is against those institutions, laws and beliefs that hinder the absolute freedom of expression, human dignity and international equality, buoyed by a central democratic system, which is the political foundation of a modern and just society. All my works, in theatre and film, have mirrored that view and will always endeavor to find ways and means to fight ignorance, extremism and dogma, be it religious, political or social. My comments were never aimed at a race of people, but were written in reaction to a local imam who appeared on TV claiming that it was right to chop off people's hands if they're caught stealing, (quote) "according to Sharia Law." (unquote) My rant, taken out of context, was made to appear to be a rant against Islam in general. This could not be further than the truth. Only a few years ago, my HBO CANADA TV series ZOS: ZONE OF SEPARATION was accused of being too pro Islamic by right wing groups, which I categorically refuse to have anything to do with".

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ For the other Mario Azzopardi, see [1].
  2. ^ "Portrait of the artist". Archived from the original on 2011-07-22. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  3. ^ "'Gagga' to be screened again". Archived from the original on 2012-02-06. Cite uses deprecated parameter |deadurl= (help)
  4. ^ Arnold, Roberta; Quénivet, Noëlle (2008). International humanitarian law and human rights law : towards a new merger in international law. Leiden: Martinus Nijhoff Publishers. p. 149. ISBN 9789004163171. Retrieved 27 March 2015.
  5. ^ Times of Malta, V18 director apologises for rant on Islam, accessed on 28/11/14 [2]

External links[edit]