Malta Film Fund launched, opens doors to indigenous productions

Finance Minister announces that Brad Pitt production World War Z will generate €30 million for Malta as The Malta Film Fund is officially launched

The official launch of the Malta Film Fund, along with the inauguration of the Audio-Visual Unit’s training sessions, took place today at The Corinthia San Gorg Hotel, St Julian’s.

Parliamentary Secretary for Tourism Mario de Marco and Finance Minister Tonio Fenech delivered the conference along with Film Commissioner Peter Busuttil and Head of Media Desk Daniela Blagojevic Vella.

Vella opened the event with an overview of the Film Fund’s aims and overall ethos. The Fund – which is allocated an overall budget of €233,000 a year – is currently accepting proposals for short films, features and documentaries, with a deadline set for October 25, 2011.

Vella emphasised the importance that the Fund will be placing on the ‘development’ aspect of film production – something which is perhaps new to Malta – whereby the collaborative process of putting a film together step-by-step will be given some priority, while also stating that the quality of the productions themselves will be of paramount importance.

Two local film directors, Rebecca Cremona and Kenneth Scicluna, then presented teasers trailers from two local films. The first film to be previewed was a currently in-production feature, Cremona’s Simshar, which tells the story of the Simshar boat tragedy, while the second was Scicluna’s short film Daqqet Ix-Xita (Plangent Rain), which had just made the rounds of the Cannes Film Festival a couple of weeks ago.

Cremona focused on the advantages indigenously-produced feature films can have for Malta, particularly if – as is the case with Simshar – they depict elements of local life.

Scicluna reiterated how films capture “the thoughts, and the beliefs of entire nations,” while imploring all those present who are interested in getting involved in film to get involved with the Film Fund and Film Commission’s initiatives now, as they can offer an unprecedented push to local filmmakers to be seen and heard abroad.

Busuttil also hoped that budding filmmakers will be inspired by the work of Cremona and Scicluna and that, given how two large-scale – Sky1’s series Sinbad and the Brad Pitt produced and starring World War Z – are currently in production in Malta, these are “exciting times” for the industry as a whole.

De Marco said that while the servicing of international productions is important – particularly since many people working on film locally got their start after being involved in such productions – the fostering of an indigenous film industry is also a main priority, particularly when considering how the creative economy generates 4% of the gross domestic product.

De Marco said that while the Fund may appear small, when placed in conjunction with other similar initiatives, it will generate a total of €8 million a year.

He said that the fund is there to “encourage”, and to gradually help foster a solid creative industry.

Building on this, Fenech said that the aim of these initiatives is to ultimately create a more professional environment for those working in the arts, where creative endeavours will move from being just a ‘hobby’ or part-time activity and into a mainstream source of revenue.

Fenech revealed that World War Z will generate €30 million for Malta.

I believe that money shouldn't be given to productions directly but being shared among all those people who are interested in film making..This can be achieved by making courses and various film tutorials. Our country is small and it doesn't have the necessary education skills to teach film making. If the money is shared into courses and tutorials then the society will benefit more..