Back in 1999 a CNN journalist coined the phrase ‘A Hollywood in the Mediterranean’ in describing Malta, as it simultaneously hosted two big budget films - Gladiator and U-571. Whilst the island is better known for its tourism and financial industries, the film industry today is growing at a rapid pace, and there is no reason why it is not to become a pivotal film hub in Southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Probably a key driver that cemented the island’s popularity within the film industry was the introduction of financial incentives in 2005 - primarily in the form of tax credits or VAT exemptions - which entice producers to shoot in Malta. A budget has also been allocated to encourage collaboration between Maltese and foreign companies to produce films and TV series for international distribution. Furthermore, productions which satisfy a number of set conditions can benefit from a rebate up to 25% of eligible expenditure with an additional 2% if the production features Malta culturally.
From a logistical point, given the island’s compact size, it allows producers to be more mobile from one location to another. In addition, whilst it is a small island, Malta still provides a myriad of locations which allow it to play a large number of countries and looks.
For example Spielberg’s Munich used Malta to depict Israel, Palestine, Beirut, Greece, Cyprus, Athens, Spain and Rome. For The Count of Monte Cristo, Kevin Reynolds decided on Malta after a thorough scout all over the Mediterranean for old Marseilles harbour. What was initially a one-week shoot become a schedule of five weeks as Reynolds decided to depict Rome and other French regions on the island as well.
In 2016, Malta’s first policy focusing on the film industry, the Malta National Film Policy 2016-2020, was launched. The policy, which sets the industry vision until 2020, seeks to address issues on the industry’s infrastructure, with investments to be made and technologies which would encourage filmmakers to carry out the post-production phase in Malta.
Over the last 4 years, the industry has earned the island around €200 million in foreign direct investment.
Brad Pitt, Angelina Jolie, Michael Bay, Michael Fassbender, Rachel Weiss, Madonna, Guy Richie and Tom Hanks have all been part of movies shot on our shores. This success can also be attributed to the constant efforts of the Malta Film Commission, which is stepping up its efforts to further fine tune the fiscal and financial incentives to ensure that Malta builds a stronger competitive edge.
Contact us to learn more about the fiscal incentives that Malta offers specifically for the film industry.