Updated | Association calls for clearer regulations on Malta Film Commission call for film clips

In a statement, the Malta Audio Visual Association laments the threadbare regulations outlined by the Malta Film Commission in a call for clips “with the objective to educate and raise awareness on the industry”. 

Filmed in Malta: Steven Spielberg's Munich. The Malta Film Commission is calling for clips which highlight Malta's prowess as a film location
Filmed in Malta: Steven Spielberg's Munich. The Malta Film Commission is calling for clips which highlight Malta's prowess as a film location

The Malta Audio Visual Association (MAVA) has called on the Malta Film Commission (MFC) to follow “standard procurement procedures” in the wake of its call for the production of 12 x 3 minute video clips to celebrate the 90th Anniversary of Malta as a filming location.

A notice on the MFC website, published on 3 February, reads: “On the occasion of the 90th Anniversary of Malta as a film location, the Malta Film Commission is inviting production companies to submit their ideas for a production of a series of short clips/featurettes on the film industry with the objective to educate and raise awareness on the industry. The intention is to produce 12 clips of 3 minute each. The spots will be eventually aired randomly on our National TV Broadcasting Station.”

The call adds that interested participants are to submit their proposals and cost their ideas by not later than 2 March, and that late arrivals will be disqualified.

While welcoming the proposal in principle and wishing the best of luck to all applicants in their statement, MAVA added that the Association “would have hoped that the call by the Malta Film Commission for the creation of these clips would have followed standard procurement procedures”.

“To mention a few omissions, one would have expected that there would be criteria mentioned as to who can qualify to shoot these clips; what the budget being made available to create these 3-minuters is; what the technical specification requirements are; what time frame these clips are required to be ready in,” MAVA said in their statement, adding that the Association looks at the Malta Film Commission as “an important working partner in our common goal to improve the overall working practices of our industry, and therefore would have liked to see MFC lead by example in this case”.

In response, the Malta Film Commission however said that it enjoys a legal exemption in this regard, and is therefore not obliged to supply such information. Making reference to Article 17(1)(g) of Subsidiary Legislation 174.04 (Public Procurement Regulations), which lays down that these regulations do not apply in case of 'public service contracts for the acquisition, development, production or co-production of programme material intended for broadcasting by broadcasters and contracts for broadcasting time'.

"The Malta Film Commission would like to assure all interested parties, that the selection process will be carried out with a high level of transparency aimed at achieving the best possible audio visual product," a spokesperson for the MFC said. 

Founded in late 2014, MAVA incorporates within its board five people involved in various facets of the local film industry. Speaking to MaltaToday, MAVA said that the the Audio-Visual industries in Malta have always “lacked a sense of direction”, and that over the years have split up into different groups such as advertising, production servicing and film and TV production.

“We noticed that a there was a general sentiment within the industry that more collaboration and a stronger voice were needed. MAVA stands for this, we aim to bring the different players and stakeholders together to nurture a greater understanding and instil this spirit of collaboration and sharing which is very lacking in the local industry. Together we believe we can help establish the right frameworks and strategy for the industry.”

Asked which aspect of the Maltese film industry should be tackled most urgently, the Association commented that a proper strategy is needed that will connect the various structures already in place and creating a long term action plan that will push the industry towards professionalisation and growth.

“For far too long the industry has been working with short term programs that have stunted our development. MAVA is contact with various government entities offering our support and the insight of our boards and members, and this is not limited only to film, but to the wider audio visual industries, including TV and new media,” the association said. 

More in Film