[WATCH] Dinosaurs in Valletta: film industry continued operating despite the pandemic

Xtra on TVM | Film Commissioner Johann Grech lauds the ripple effect the industry has on the rest of the economy and how Malta’s inclusion in the script of Jurassic World is a long-lasting advert for the country

Film Commissioner Johann Grech
Film Commissioner Johann Grech

Malta managed to attract 11 film productions, including Hollywood blockbuster Jurassic World last year despite the problems caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the Film Commissioner said.

Malta is part of the script in Jurassic World, which is a long-lasting advert in itself, Johann Grech said when interviewed on TVM’s Xtra by Saviour Balzan.

Grech said that 2019 had been a record year for the film industry with 22 productions being shot in Malta.

“Having back to back productions has enabled the industry to continue working seamlessly and this is why we now have to increase the supply of crew and companies that provide support services,” Grech said.

He noted that there were 1,000 crew members registered with the Film Commission, up from the 300 in 2018, and 360 companies, an increase of 300 over 2018.

Grech said the master plan published by the commission foresees the creation of “world class sound stages” to provide a holistic package to producers.

A sound stage is a soundproof hangar required in film making, something Malta does not yet offer.

Grech acknowledged that the 40% cash rebate offered to film companies was a major attraction for foreign producers and Malta had earned a reputation of reimbursing the money on time within five months.

But apart from the cash rebate, Malta’s attractions also include the Kalkara water tanks, a can-do mentality and quality of crew.

“We also have film-friendly people. People are proud that a film is being done in their locality, and if possible they want it to be filmed in their street. Producers who worked here remark about this trait,” Grech said.

He insisted the film industry has a ripple effect on the rest of the economy. “It provides work for construction, catering, IT, make-up artists, carpenters, accountants and many other services,” he said.