Shot entirely in Malta, the first season of Sky One’s TV series Sinbad began airing from last Sunday.
This year's Fund has been increased to €250,000 for the development of films and documentaries and the production of short films, feature films and documentaries, with calls for entries for 2012 now open.
Minister Fenech explained that this Fund is intended to further support the development of the film industry in Malta, based on the successes achieved so far which have seen not only 65 international productions choose Malta as their location over the past four years, but also the encouraging growth of the local indigenous industry.
"Through this fund, we want to continue supporting the development of new talents and skills. This will assist the growth of the local film industry and local productions, but will also allow locals to provide better value added to foreign film makers, thus benefiting from the new opportunities which are being created".
He also pointed out that the development of the industry is also being supported through investment in training, and announced that the European Union has recently approved the allocation of €0.5 million euro from the European Social Fund to support the development of further training programmes.
Fenech remarked that the "film-makers are cultural entrepreneurs and the aim of these initiatives is to ultimately create a more professional environment and lead to the creating of a mainstream source of revenue".
However, the fund looked beyond the economic impact, and aims to preserve and promote Maltese cultural and linguistic diversity through audiovisual works, to develop the artistic scope, quality and dissemination of Maltese audiovisual works and to strengthen films as a cultural product and Malta as a production location.
Culture Minister Mario de Marco said that the Malta Film Fund enhances the creative economy - which currently employs 8,000 people in 3,600 enterprises.
He explained that the fund aims to strengthen the local audiovisual industry which forms part of Malta's creative economy.
The Fund is beneficial for the cultural and creative sector as it assists artists and film producers in developing their talent and in producing local quality films, documentaries and productions.
These serve also as a promotion of the Maltese islands and are therefore also beneficial to the tourism sector. De Marco said that the Malta Film Fund is amongst the several schemes that government has launched to strengthen the creative economy and which include the Culture Card, Kreattiv and INVEX initiatives.
He said that in these past few years since the Malta Film Fund's inception in 2008, there has been a diversity of audiovisual production works, with diverging styles and themes - these varying from documentaries to animated films. The University of Malta and MCAST also offer courses related to the area of audiovisual production.
Film Commissioner Peter Busuttil gave an overview of the fund's aims and outlined the two funding strands, one for development and one for production, with up to €20,000 available for development and €120,000 for production.
The Fund is involved with the making of full-length features, documentary, experimental, short and animation films.
Busuttil also highlighted that the Malta Film Commission - which is responsible for the implementation and administration of the fund - recognises the importance of supporting emerging talent, as well as actively encourages and stimulates local film-making and the development of new skills.
Now in its fifth year, the Malta Film Fund encourages emerging and experienced film-makers to develop their potential and support original and exciting ideas and stories for new works or the completion of film projects.
Busuttil also hoped that budding filmmakers will be inspired by previous awardees and apply.
He advised that an independent evaluation board, including foreign experts, is nominated to assess and award applicants.
He revealed that in the next coming weeks an information seminar regarding the fund application process will also be held.
Busuttil also referred to the ESF funding approval, pointing out that this allocation will be invested towards accredited courses in the filming production sector for those interested in starting a career in this industry or in improving their expertise in the field.
The commission aims to increase the number of persons adequately skilled in the filming industry with the potential to increase innovation opportunities in this sector. It is intend that these courses will commence towards the end of the year.
A number of teaser trailers from past awardees were also presented. A total of 17 Maltese films/documentaries have received the fund's support.
Detailed guidelines, criteria and application form for the Malta Film Fund 2012 can be found and downloaded from the Malta Film Commission website www.mfc.com.mt.
For any further queries send email to email@example.com. All applications are to be submitted to the Malta Film Commission by 12:00 on Thursday, August 30.