“Um Presente de Natal” is a feel good, festive short film and will be done in Portuguese. The author of this original script is a 20-year-old Canarian A/V student, Ainhoa Suarez Borges. The idea for the story came about for the young author while she was walking in Santa Cruz de Tenerife in the Canary Islands last month, where there are many homeless people living on the streets which you can see is resembled at the railway station in Rome, downtown Los Angeles and San Francisco. With Christmas approaching, like the boy of her story, she thought what is going on is not fair and we should draw attention to this and Lou Di Giorgio agreed that this is an important story to tell.

Lou Di Giorgio told me that he “added more drama to the script” and his photography director, Telmo Antunes, had the idea of the final scene. “The idea came by talking to Lou’s friend, professor Antonello Borrata, from Sicily who I visited a month ago in Tenerife to make a short with his students and to start with a script competition.”

“I really loved Ainhoa Suarez Borges script and because it was a Christmas movie, we needed to hurry up so we did not lose the possibility of the Christmas setting on the roads. We chose Loulé as the location for shooting because the local film office was very helpful in getting us permission and to ask the town hall to keep the lights for some extra days for us to shoot.”

The synopsis of the film is “a mother and her child who are doing the last Christmas shop, the evening before Christmas Eve. They pass by an old homeless man who is lying on the ground and the young child asks him to spend Christmas Eve with them, however, his mother obviously disagreed. The following day, she came across the poor man again, whilst he was being beaten up badly by a group of teenagers, she did not hesitate to help him and brought him to their home. The homeless man told his life to the mother, and explained he was an old chess champion and he then taught the child how to play chess well. 20 years pass and the child has become a world chess champion and at the prize ceremony remembers the old homeless man saying that the best Christmas gift he has ever received was meeting him.”

The main cast has already been selected with Helena Ávila, Victoria Henriques, Susana Guerreiro, Gilad Shahar, Inês Fernandes, Gonçalo Braga and Mauro Viegas but extras are still needed. Anyone can apply, so no previous experience is necessary, from 30 to 60 years of age and they will just need to walk and sit in the audience room so no speaking is required. If you are interested in applying, please see www.FilmAlgarve.com/Be-Casted.


Following undertaking her university degree in English with American Literature in the UK, Cristina da Costa Brookes moved back to Portugal to pursue a career in Journalism, where she has worked at The Portugal News for 3 years. Cristina’s passion lies with Arts & Culture as well as sharing all important community-related news.

Cristina da Costa Brookes