The Malta Independent 23 May 2024, Thursday
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€3 spent back in other sectors for every €1 given in film cash rebate scheme - study

Sabrina Zammit Friday, 15 September 2023, 17:55 Last update: about 9 months ago

For every €1 given to productions via the film cash rebate scheme there was a total of €3 spent in other industries, the Film Commission claimed a study it commissioned showed.

The study was carried out to shed light on a scheme which allows productions to get back a total of 40% of their expenditure in rebates. The study revealed that the scheme cultivated a total of €72.7 million gross added value for the year of 2022, according to economist Jessica Camilleri, who conducted the report with Dustin Chodorowicz.

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The commission failed to provide a copy of the study to journalists, and when asked, Film Commissioner Johann Grech saying this was going to passed on the National Audit Office to help it in its investigation.

The investigation was launched after the PN urged the NAO to investigate money passed on to foreign film productions in the last five years ending August.

Camilleri said that for the year of 2022 a total of 1,772 full time jobs had been created, which in turn have also meant a total of €36 million in taxes.

Moreover, 78% of the crews on films were all locals whilst the rest were foreigners. She also said that this means that a total of 65% of film production hours were being worked by Maltese crews.

Chodorowicz, who also serves as an advisor to the Malta Film commission, described the local film industry as a manufacturing factory, as from this industry, several others are benefitting.

Defending Malta’s cash rebate scheme and describing it as bold, he said that this scheme comes with many benefits such the creation of highly skilled jobs, skills diversity, extensive and divisive supply chains, better career development for young people and tourism enhancement.

Grech said that these numbers “confirm what we have been saying about sustainability”, adding that the cash rebate scheme is not only adding value but also creating new jobs.

“This industry (the film sector) is not a burden on the country as this is shown in the results”, he said.

Addressing politicians who said that the “cash rebate is not sustainable and that it should be less”, he said that this is not the only industry where such schemes are available as one can also find similar ones in the aviation or igaming sectors.

Grech said that the culture of “shoot first and ask later” should be avoided when it comes to raising questions on the film industry as these questions are “delicate and can affect the reputation of our country”.

He said that PN MP Julie Zahra was wrong when she said that it is an illusion for Maltese to have a career in the film industry as “we shouldn’t play with people’s jobs”.

He said over the last three years, the commission has kept a constant of 24 productions per year, whilst previously it was kept at 4-11 per year.

On his part Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said that this survey “shows the truth” and gives a clear explanation with economical backing.

He said that the cash rebate system is sustainable “and is here to stay”. Moreover he reminded that even local productions can apply for it.

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