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Limestone statuettes for Europe’s Oscars

Film stars will be watched over by 71 hand-made Maltese limestone statuettes as they celebrate Europe’s Oscars next month.

I am very proud that my work will be seen by many famous people

The statuettes, replicas of the female figurines given to European Film Awards winners, will decorate the after-show party in Valletta on December 1.

“I am very proud that my work will be seen by many famous people,” said Roderick Borg, 28, who has been tasked with hand crafting all 71 statuettes.

The European Film Awards, held outside Berlin every two years, will be hosted in Malta for the first time.

Stars such as Helen Mirren and Bernardo Bertolucci will attend the awards ceremony at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, in Valletta.

Mr Borg, from Birkirkara, spends up to five hours a day creating the 30cm statuettes. He begins work on the figures at the Limestone Heritage Park and Gardens in Siġġiewi after clocking off from his full-time job as a stone sculpture restorer.

“The hardest part to make is the face,” he said, as he demonstrated how to transform a block of limestone into an intricate figurine.

“I have to use a very small chisel to carve out the features. For the lips, I use a compass,” he explained in the Limestone Heritage workshop.

The limestone statuettes were commissioned by the European Film Academy as a special tribute to Malta.

Their design is based on the metal and marble trophies made by luxury jewellery designer Theo Fenell in London. Mr Borg ensures that each model is at the same stage before moving onto the next phase to guarantee consistency.

He draws the outline on a block of limestone, then cuts it out with a power saw before chiselling out the hands and breasts, then the dress.

The face is left for last and each carving is then smoothed down and brushed with milk to ensure it does not produce dust and residue.

Limestone Heritage managing director Manuel Baldacchino asked Mr Borg in October to produce a sample figurine, which was sent to the EFA last month in response to a call for applications.

The EFA liked what they saw and Mr Borg, whose passion for sculpture can be traced back to his childhood love for his parish’s St Helen statue, has been working on the figures ever since.

Will Mr Borg be attending the after-show party on December 1 to see his statuettes in the company of movie stars?

“I haven’t been invited but if they want to invite me, then, of course, I would go,” he laughed.

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