An award-winning short film that was “100% made in the Algarve” will premiere online on Christmas Eve (December 24).
‘A Christmas Gift’ is the second film by Swiss filmmaker Lou Di Giorgio to be filmed in the Algarve following 2021’s ‘Locked Love’.
The film tells the story of Sergei, a homeless Ukrainian man who was rescued by a Portuguese lady and her young son after being attacked by a group of “young bullies” during the Christmas holidays.
“As a reward, Sergei gives the boy an unexpected Christmas gift,” the director told the Resident.
‘A Christmas Gift’ was shot in Loulé over the course of four days in January 2022 and is described as a “movie about love, friendship, Christian values and what Christmas is all about: giving”.
As Lou pointed out, the film was shot just one month before the start of the Ukraine-Russia war.
“I hope this film can be a message of peace that the world so desperately needs and an example that international collaborations can bring good results,” the director added.
The film has already won two awards: ‘Best Short Film in Portuguese Language’ at the Portugal International Film Festival, and ‘Best Foreign Short’ at the San Diego Movie Awards.
It stars Portuguese actress Helena Ávila alongside Gilad Shahar, Mauro Viegas and Francisco Soares in his first role and was shot in Portuguese, although the film will have subtitles in English, Spanish and Italian. The film was also created and shot in Loulé with the help of Tenerife screenwriter Ainhoa Suárez Borges.
Loulé was chosen as the filming location thanks to the help of the Loulé Film Office, without which “it would have been impossible to shoot the film,” the director told us.
With two films shot in the Algarve under his belt, Lou Di Giorgio told us what it is about the region that makes it such an appealing filming location for his projects.
“I love the Algarve during the off season,” the filmmaker told us. “It’s very easy to move around, find locations and obtain permits, and it’s still quite cheap.”
The Algarve’s natural light is one of the key aspects highlighted by Di Giorgio, who describes it as “so beautifully intense and warm” that it is no surprise why “many TV commercials are made in the Algarve”.
The director is so enamoured with the region’s filming capabilities that he already has a feature film project called ‘Kristel’ which he plans to shoot in the Algarve.
“It has finally got some attention from one of the major Netflix producers based in Lisbon, so fingers crossed,” he told us.