The Malta Independent 22 January 2021, Friday

More interest in PR exercises and glitzy videos than nurturing local productions - MPA

Thursday, 20 August 2020, 15:46 Last update: about 6 months ago

Instead of focusing on content, substance and nurturing the local production and the Film Fund, there is more priority over marketing PR exercises with “unnecessary glitzy videos”, the Malta Producers Association (MPA) said.

“Rather than focusing on content, substance and the genuine nurturing of local production and the Film Fund, Film Commissioner Johann Grech, in collaboration with the Minister for Tourism Julia Farrugia Portelli, seem to prioritise marketing PR exercises with unnecessary glitzy videos, which presumably are paid for through the limited fund coffers further reducing what is available for the industry.”


MPA’s statement is a reaction to the launch of Screen Malta, which the Malta Film Commission announced on the 14 August.

“As for 2019, the ‘new’ fund is still pegged at €600,000 including fund administrative costs. Ignoring all calls for discussion with the stakeholders whose livelihoods are the film and tv industry, the Malta Film Commission went ahead and published new guidelines a day before the Santa Maria holiday and without a minute of consultation.”

Back in April, MPA published a set of proposals for a way forward to make the local film industry more viable, help ensure consistency of work and increase opportunities for professional development of crew and talent. “All fell on deaf ears. Not even an acknowledgment was received.”

The association said that back in 2019, it had highlighted a serious conflict of interest where a member of the Evaluation Board was also the recipient of the Film Fund. “The MPA had queried whether any action has been taken in this regard to rectify the issue and how. No reply has been received.”

Reacting to the news that the production team of Jurassic World has been scaled down due to Covid-19, the MPA said, “the industry in Malta must diversify and not remain solely dependent on simply bringing in a multi-million picture every other year.”

The Association stated that the Film Commissioner “is missing a serious trick if his vision is limited to this alone.”

Whilst large movies are important for the industry, locals are rarely ever hired in proper high level roles, unlike smaller films, co-productions and local films where local crew and talent have the opportunity to be more involved and can grow, it said.

“It is clear to the majority of the stakeholders that the industry in Malta needs to be ambitious and make bolder steps towards increasing exports if it wishes develop into a sustainable and consistent industry. It is ridiculous and unacceptable that the Film Commissioner, whilst boasting to have met over 500 producers internationally on the public dime, still refuses to meet with local producers and stakeholders of the industry which collectively have decades of pertinent experience to discuss weaknesses in the industry and appropriate improvements that can be made.”

It said repeated calls for a meeting with Minister Farrugia Portelli have also been denied.







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