Film and TV industry critically hit by the coronavirus, producers say

The Malta Producers Association is 'disappointed'  that the film and TV industry was excluded from the support measures for critically hit sectors as it joins a growing chorus of business operators that will not benefit from government's full-wage support scheme

Film and TV productions have ground to a halt globally as a result of restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus
Film and TV productions have ground to a halt globally as a result of restrictions to combat the spread of coronavirus

The Malta Producers Association (MPA) has called on the government to recognise that the film and TV industry was critically hit by the coronavirus pandemic.

The MPA expressed its “deep disappointment,” at the fact that the industry was excluded from Annex A of the support measures for critically hit sectors.

Annex A includes companies and sectors that will benefit from government financing of €800 per month per employee, a measure introduced last Tuesday. The measure will cover some 60,000 employees in the private sector and self-employed.

However, over the past few days various sectors have voiced their concern at the fact that they have been left in the lurch despite sustaining a complete loss in revenue.

The MPA said that during Prime Minister Robert Abela’s announcement of new measures for financial aid for the worst affected sectors, the association understood that the film and TV industry would be included as part of the creative arts and entertainment category. However, it turned out not to be the case.

“The MPA believes that this may have been an oversight due to the misleading classification of the film and TV industry within the NACE categorisation system,” the MPA said. 

The association said that due to the virus, no film and television productions were happening around the world let alone in Malta.

“All foreign productions that were meant to shoot here have shut down, local production has halted and the sector is amongst those most heavily hit. Hundreds of freelance crew, talent and film and TV production companies have been left in the lurch with zero income.”

Thus, the MPA said on behalf of all professionals working in the sector, it urged the Tourism Minister and the Prime Minister to “immediately intervene, recognise all motion picture, video and television production activities as sectors which were amongst those worst hit by the coronavirus pandemic and ensure that they are included in Annex A.”