‘Celebrating our successes is key’

The Malta Film Commission will be celebrating 90 years of foreign film servicing with an anniversary concert at the Mediterranean Conference Centre at the end of the month, and they spoke to us about what this commemorative event will entail  

Still from By the Sea, filmed in Gozo and starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Copyright: Entertainment Weekly/Merrick Morton
Still from By the Sea, filmed in Gozo and starring Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt. Copyright: Entertainment Weekly/Merrick Morton

What can the audience expect from this event, and why was this particular format for it chosen?

The concert will be a performance by the Malta Philharmonic Orchestra, under the direction of Brian Schembri, featuring Julie Zahra who will be making a special appearance to compliment a select couple of songs with vocal renditions. Guests will experience an evening of exhilarating film culture with an exciting atmosphere, and will be taken through a journey of Malta’s 90-year film legacy.

What would you say Malta directly gains from the film servicing industry, and how will this event commemorate that?

Malta benefits from its film industry in a number of ways. Big budget productions that come over to Malta contribute greatly to our economy. Only last month, Michael Bay’s latest film completed filming in Malta and injected a total of $50 million into the Maltese economy. 

Large foreign films that come over to Malta often require a substantial amount of Maltese to work on the productions, offering employment opportunities to many locals in both crew and cast positions. The latest production filming in Malta Assassin’s Creed is another successful example engaging over 1,000 extras on film. We are experiencing a record year in the film industry this year. The hard work and professionalism of those Maltese who contributed and still contribute to the ever-growing industry in Malta, the concert is a means of thanking the local cast and crew for their efforts and perseverance.

Why did you choose the 90-year mark as a milestone? Can we expect more such events from the Malta Film Commission in the future?

Over the past few years, Malta has made giant leaps to become an internationally recognized film destination. Large Hollywood films such as Captain Phillips, World War Z and By the Sea have capitalized from Malta’s filming incentives and variety of locations both in Malta and Gozo. The Malta Film Commission saw fit to commemorate such a successful, record-breaking period in the film industry with the 90 Years of Film milestone. The Malta Film Commission feels that celebrating our successes is a key and will no doubt hold further events to reflect the Maltese film industry’s achievements.

What would you say are some of the most significant developments by the Malta Film Commission over the past couple of years?

Over the past couple of years, the Malta Film Commission has intensified its marketing efforts as well as continuing taking the necessary measures to invest in the local talent with the objective to strengthen and further develop our homegrown industry. Marketing campaigns across several industry conferences and festivals, as well as featuring Malta’s incentives on the front cover of leading film publications such as The Hollywood Reporter and World of Locations, has increased considerably Malta’s visibility as a competitive film destination.

What still needs to be done?

Our aim is to build a sustainable industry. This is the fastest growing economic niche in the Maltese economy and we are working hard to keep the momentum. We are proud of the achievement however we have a long way ahead in terms of infrastructure and film education.

‘90 Years of Film’ will be held on September 25 and 26 at the Mediterranean Conference Centre, Valletta at 20:30. Bookings: www.mcc.com.mt