Film producers request tax rebates stay in place, propose reforms

MPA calls for think-tank to explore procedures, adaptions of technologies and the development of workplace protocols in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions

Film producers want the government to give them written assurance that Malta’s film incentive schemes are still on track.

The Malta Producers Association said it was imperative that the Malta Film Commission reach out to concerned producers to let them know that any current pending rebates will be paid within stipulated timeframes.

The MPA has proposed that the process be sped up to ensure that companies are given as much liquidity as possible, to boost confidence and reliability in Malta as a filming destination.

The MPA presented tourism minister Julia Farrugia a proposal document for reforms, measures and recommendations which they said could restore and restructure the local film and TV industry.

The MPA wants a think-tank to be set up and explore procedures, adaptions of technologies and the development of workplace protocols in the wake of COVID-19 restrictions.

“This is a very complex, detailed but necessary exercise that needs to tie in with the wider local legislative context and needs to be commenced without delay,” the MPA said.

The recommendations also call for clarification regarding Malta’s film assets which the association said are “crucial” for the attraction and operation of many productions that film on the island. Such as the current statuses of the Malta Film Studios water tanks and Fort Ricasoli.

The association proposed that tax for film cast and crews be given consideration. It said that in light of the sporadic nature of film production on the island, film cast and crews who have fluctuating income may pay a substantial amount of tax in a year and little or no tax another year.

“To help stabilise the tax bills paid by film crews the MPA suggest the government to introduce a system whereby professionals and talent will be able to average their profits for two successive years.”

The MPA argued that such systems were already operational in countries like the UK and France. It also called for the recognition and categorization of the industry in Jobsplus classifications as well as provisions and ease of bureaucracy for individuals working in the sector.

“Given that the recovery of international production and its return to filming in Malta will very likely be a slow one, the MPA firmly believes that with adequate support, the homegrown industry can finally be properly nurtured and helped to get on its feet and flourish. This could become a golden period for all local talent and professionals.”

The association said the financial measures instituted by the government provided a much-needed initial lifeline for industry professionals, however, the MPA said the majority of film professionals are aware that alone it will not be enough to “survive the months ahead.”

“The MPA is keen to see the industry back at work and hopes that the suggested reforms will be taken on board by the authorities without delay, to ensure a speedy and timely recovery.”