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Maltese-born director lands Emmy for 24

Director Jon Cassar (right) and actor Kiefer Sutherland gesture on stage during their award for outstanding drama series 24, at the 58th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on Sunday.

Director Jon Cassar (right) and actor Kiefer Sutherland gesture on stage during their award for outstanding drama series 24, at the 58th annual Primetime Emmy Awards at the Shrine Auditorium in Los Angeles, on Sunday.

Maltese-born Jon Cassar is on top of the world after he landed the prestigious award for best director for the blockbuster series 24 in last Sunday's Emmy awards.

Mr Cassar beat off stiff competition from the directors of renowned TV series like Six Feet Under, Lost and The Sopranos to win one of the biggest television awards.

"As much as I love directing, I hate public speaking," Mr Cassar said after he accepted the Emmy for best director of a drama series.

Mr Cassar recently started filming the sixth season of the spy thriller set around the Counter Terrorist Unit's Jack Bauer, starring Kiefer Sutherland.

He won the award for last season's first episode, deemed by critics and fans as one of the most memorable dramatic hours of the entire TV season.

Mr Cassar, 48, was born in Malta and raised in Canada, where he was a film buff and studied photography before moving on to his film and television career as a camera operator.

During the first season, Mr Cassar, who had worked with executive producers Joel Surnow and Robert Cochran in Canada on the TV series La Femme Nikita, was hired to direct two episodes. Then Hopkins left to continue his feature film career, and Surnow hired Cassar, a virtual unknown in Hollywood, to become the show's director-producer.

In a recent interview, Mr Cassar said he approached the offer as a one-year experiment but quickly realised that 24's serialised, high-action, real-time format meant boredom was not likely to set in.

Last year's series received 12 Emmy nominations, more than any other show, including nods for Sutherland as best actor and Gregory Itzin and Jean Smart for their supporting roles as the president and first lady.

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