[WATCH] Digital arts fest relocates to Malta, aims to bolster island as industry hub

‘Trojan Horse was a Unicorn’ will take place in Malta for next three years, should increase island’s exposure as gaming hub, attract talent

'Trojan Horse was a Unicorn', an annual digital arts festival, is relocating to Malta for the next three years
'Trojan Horse was a Unicorn', an annual digital arts festival, is relocating to Malta for the next three years

‘Trojan Horse was a Unicorn’ - an internationally renowned annual digital arts festival - will be held in Malta for the next three years, aiming to place Malta in the industry’s limelight, bring talent to the island and lead to recruitment.

The festival, which is being officially announced at an event this evening and was previously organised in Portugal, has relocated to Malta and will this year take place from 24 to 29 September.

The September event - where 3D artists, animators, game developers and those working in visual effects and related areas could showcase their talents - would attract 1,500 people, digital economy parliamentary secretary Silvio Schembri said, remarking that Malta had worked hard to win its bid for THU to relocate here.

Describing it as a “major event in gaming and entertainment”, he said the festival would serve as “another link in the chain helping Malta’s digital hub ecosystem flourish”.

Explaining that Malta was now starting to increase its focus on the area of game design - as distinct and separate from the igaming sector - Schembri said that the most important asset in the gaming industry was human capital, and the festival would go a long way towards attracting talent to Malta.

When it comes to the gaming industry, Schembri said, the most fundamental issue was the recruitment process.

“In order for Malta to really launch itself as a gaming hub, it must attract the critical mass of labour to the country, and events such at THU are necessary for this to happen,” he highlighted, “We have a good product to offer, but people now need to discover us, and then the gaming industry will come here.”

Andre Luis from THU said that the event would not only be coming to Malta for six days a year, but would be promoting the gaming ecosystem all year round.

“More than anything, this will be a networking event, and our goal is to promote Malta as a gaming hub.”

Film executive Scott Ross, who has worked with James Cameron and George Lucas, said THU had “loved the fact that the [Maltese] government has embraced the possibility of making Malta the key digital entertainment place of the world. “The future is digital,” he emphasised, “We want to create an incubator in Malta for digital artists.”

The festival - which will take place at St Elmo’s and at the Mediterranean Conference Centre - will also give local companies the opportunity to be involved, and there will be recruitment efforts throughout it.

Ross remarked that THU employed a concept of having “mighty knights” from the gaming industry within it, and this would tie in nicely with the Knights Hospitaller’s legacy in Malta.

Ross added that THU had also been speaking with students “at two universities” in Malta, as it wanted to build a relationship and have an outreach programme with students.