The Malta Independent 3 February 2023, Friday
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TMID Editorial: Malta’s film industry needs support

Tuesday, 29 November 2022, 09:03 Last update: about 3 months ago

Malta’s local films are not getting the attention they deserve. The government seems to be all too focused on attracting foreign films, and as such local filmmakers end up playing second fiddle.

In an interview with The Malta Independent on Sunday, producer Pierre Ellul said that “all the focus is on the foreign projects and the Maltese filmmaker is left out in the cold.” He said that Hollywood films like Jurassic World and Napoleon are given a strong financial backing, whilst very little money or support is given to local filmmakers.

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The Malta Film Commission should focus on attracting foreign blockbusters yes, but we cannot forget about locally created films.

Malta has produced some good films recently, and we should focus on growing our local film industry.

When asked about the biggest challenges a local producer faces when making a local film, he said that the biggest is always raising finance for a film project. “Even after you complete the film, it is far from over as here in Malta we have zero structures to support the distribution.” He gave a breakdown of the funds local filmmakers can apply for. There is the Screen Malta fund which offers a pot of €600,000 for all filmmakers. There is the cash rebate which was “primarily created to attract foreign films to shoot here,” he said. He described the Screen Malta fund, as a “tiny fund” when compared to the financial support other European filmmakers receive. He brought up Iceland as an example; although Iceland has a smaller population than Malta, Icelandic filmmakers have access to a pot of €10.8 million.

Malta has seen success with its films over the years. Ellul’s ‘Carmen’ is one such example. Luzzu is another example of a successful Maltese film. So then why not increase the support for local filmmakers to allow them to work on bigger and better projects?

After all, who better to portray Malta than people who have lived here? Who better understands the Maltese people? But not only that, films are a form of art and culture.

Ellul said that the truth is that film all over Europe is supported by public funds because other countries understand the importance of nurturing artistic and cultural endeavours. He also said that private investment in Malta is close to non-existent in film.

It is always nice to see Malta on the big screen, such as during Game of Thrones, or the latest Jurassic World. But it is also good for films to be created in the Maltese language, or for films to be produced by Maltese in any language. It is understandable that Malta would want to attract Hollywood films and series, but that should not mean that the locally produced film shouldn’t receive the support they deserve. If local filmmakers feel that they aren’t being treated fairly, then perhaps the Film Commission needs to sit down with them, really listen and see how it can improve the situation.

 

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