The Malta Independent 13 August 2022, Saturday

‘Impossible’ to calculate how much Malta Film Awards cost, tourism minister insists

Sabrina Zammit Wednesday, 3 August 2022, 09:56 Last update: about 10 days ago

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo insisted on Tuesday that it is “impossible” to calculate how much the Malta Film Awards ceremony cost, as it formed part of a package worth €1.3m for the entire Malta Film Week.

Questioned by this newsroom, Bartolo dismissed the idea what he was failing to be transparent by not disclosing the amount spent on the awards night.

Bartolo said that “when one negotiates a package for a whole week (of events), it guarantees better prices than those that would be paid if one were to negotiate for individual events.”

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The Malta Film Commission has said that it is “not in a position” to identify specifically how much the Malta Film Awards event cost, as it refused a second Freedom of Information request on the topic filed by this newsroom. 

The Malta Film Awards, which were held on 29 January this year, raised questions from both filmmakers, some of whom even boycotted the event out of protest at its cost compared to the annual budget allocated to helping the local film industry, and in the political sphere.

“We have managed to obtain value for money for the Malta Film Week, as even today we are witnessing the first results from the steps we have announced during the Malta film week,” Bartolo said, speaking after the inauguration of some Jurassic World attractions in Valletta.

Asked why the Ministry is consistently refusing to disclose expenses in detail, Bartolo said one cannot provide individual expenditures.

“The Malta Film Commision had worked on the film week as a whole package, thus one cannot on isolate the Malta Film Awards only and try to come out with a figure for the event itself.”

Multiple efforts to ascertain what the cost of the event was have been made since then, with all proving to be in vain as the government has steadfastly refused to identify the exact cost of the event.

The minister went on to explain how the package for the Malta Film Week cost €1.3 million and that it is “impossible” to quantify the expenses incurred on the awards.

He added the Malta Film Week included some 22 events, some of which were masterclasses. During the same week, there were also discussions on the vision of Malta and the cinematography industry.

Discussions were held with stakeholders who were present even for some of the masterclasses, he said.

“Above all, we looking into screen tourism, which is the first element in the first steps for our country to profit from films in more ways other than cinematographically only,” Bartolo said.

 

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