Malta Film Fund supports 58 local productions since 2013

Tista' taqra bil- Malti.

A total of 58 local productions have benefited from funding by the Malta Film Fund since 2013, but figures tabled in Parliament also show that a third of projects approved for funding failed to materialise.

Statistics tabled by Tourism Minister Julia Farrugia Portelli in reply to parliamentary questions by Nationalist Party MP Karol Aquilina show that close €2 million in funding was provided to the 58 successful projects.

The minister did not supply the dates, the names of the beneficiaries and the funding approved for each project as Aquilina asked, though the details can be found on the website of the Malta Film Commission, which manages the fund. The fund can cover up to 60% of development expenses and 50% of production expenses, capped at €20,000 and €120,000 respectively.

In reply to another question by Aquilina, however, Farrugia Portelli also revealed that funding was withdrawn to 26 productions due to non-completion of the project or a breach of contract. The cancelled funding amounted to some €500,000.

Incentives to sustain Malta’s film industry

The Malta Film Commission offers various incentives to encourage film production in Malta, including through tax credits and cash rebates. It is far from unique in doing so, many countries and regions provide similar initiatives to attract film companies and the investment that they bring.

However, a recent report by the National Audit Office revealed that the commission needed to step up its efforts to ensure that these incentives are provided in a fair and transparent manner.

While the NAO had flagged the issue in 2016, it found that little had changed when it came to tax credits in a follow-up exercise: a substantial proportion were not substantiated by any valid evidence proving that the expenses claimed were spent.  And although the MFC revised its cash rebate guidelines last year, the NAO found that it had failed to apply these guidelines to a 2018 production for which the rebate was paid in 2019.