Malta Film Commission in the spotlight

    Troy Troy

    MALTA: The recent European Film Academy Awards have shown a spotlight on the Malta Film Commission (www.mfc.com.mt) and new developments in the film industry in Malta.

    Already one of Europe’s most popular destinations for foreign film location shoots the country is also backing the development of local Maltese talent and pitching to attract more European coproductions.

    As attendees saw there is no shortage of great locations in this island of almost perpetual sunshine with well preserved medieval streets and castles that cover a wide range of historical periods. But Malta’s greatest specialist has been underwater shooting and its clear warm waters around its island coastline remain one of its major attractions.

    The water tanks at the Mediterranean Film Studios are among the largest in the world and are justly famous. But underwater shooting expertise also extends to local production and location services companies like the Malta based Film Corporation which recently acquired a 2m EUR specialized submarine for underwater filming. Malta backlots like Fort Ricasoli have hosted huge sets for films like Gladiator, Troy and Agora.

    Malta already boasts one of Europe’s most generous and effective tax incentives with a cash rebate of up to 22% of qualifying expenditure in Malta and this even looks set to increase in 2013. The Malta Film Fund invests 250 000 EUR a year into local Maltese film development and productions and these are also open to coproductions if there is a Maltese producer on board.

    At the centre of this effort is Malta’s Film Commissioner Peter Busuttil. Bussittul was recently elected as to the board of directors of the European Film Commissions Network (EUFCN) and he has been one of the guiding lights behind the organisation of the successful hosting of the EFA awards in Malta this year. Since taking the reins at the commission several years ago Busuttil has presided over a period of growth in Malta’s profile at international events. This has coincided with a greater commitment to government support for the development of local Maltese film talent, production development and integration with European bodies such as EUFCN as well as hosting the EFA awards.