Cypriot MPs’ anger at film relocation to Malta

BBC feature directed by Sean Connery’s son Jason chooses Malta over its film production incentives after Cyprus turns down requests for rebates

Staff Reporter
13 April 2016, 8:28pm
Jason Connery was said to have chosen Malta over Cyprus to film a documentary on Cypriot migration
Jason Connery was said to have chosen Malta over Cyprus to film a documentary on Cypriot migration
Cypriot MPs were reported to be “up in arms” when discussion in a parliamentary committee revealed a BBC production on Cypriot migration to the UK was to be filmed in Malta instead of the island, as it will cost less to do so.

During a meeting of the House Education Committee, Greens MP Giorgos Perdikis said this was “because the government does not give incentives to attract film productions to Cyprus.”

The BBC production will use Malta instead of Cypriot towns Pissouri and Eptagonia because the film company decided that the cost is lower in Malta, Perdikis said. “The great minds”, he said, who manage the country give incentives to entrepreneurs, and contractors, but not to film productions.

The production in question is a feature film co-produced by the BBC and a Hollywood studio, with a script by a Cypriot living in the UK and directed by Jason Connery, son of Scottish Academy-award winner Sean Connery.

“A large part of the movie is set in Cyprus, and the producers asked our government for information on what facilities and incentives it offered to make a movie here,” she said. “They were told nothing could be offered, so they decided to shoot in Malta instead.”

Cypriot MPs have now called for more measures that could attract such activities on the island, which they believe would could bring in more than €50 million in four years.

Cyprus does not have a film commission, but handles production requests through the Cyprus Tourism Organisation (CTO), which requires the movie scripts for approval, before giving the green light. In the case the script calls for an abandoned site, however, producers are required to contact local authorities and police themselves to arrange for the site to be vacated.

Cyprus’s best known film credits are an indie movie from the 1970s starring Raquel Welch – called Sin – and an ill-fated attempt by legendary comedian Peter Sellers called “Ghost in the Noonday Sun” in 1973.