Besides its well-earned reputation as a standout destination for movie shoots and, increasingly, for high-class series such as Game of Thrones, Malta wants to offer filmmakers an inspiring financial package
Filmed in Malta. Because of its diverse landscape and architecture, Malta is a versatile filming location, able to stand in for virtually anywhere - old or new. Illustration: Ricardo Polo
2015 saw £87 million spent by foreign productions in Malta, up from £25 million in 2014
The Mediterranean mini-Hollywood is a location which inspires great directors such as Steven Spielberg (Munich) and provides all the practical know-how to produce thrilling adventures from the James Bond series to period romps such as Troy and Gladiator.
But besides the magnificent facilities, historical locations, English-speaking and professional crews, crystalline sea, superb light and its favourable climate, Malta has also developed the financial muscle to give the film industry a platform from which to develop what are always costly projects.
The financial advantages of shooting on Malta, or on the eerily strange sister island of Gozo, include tax credits, the possibility of a complete VAT refund, co-production options and, most recently, an upgraded system of cash rebates on expenses incurred by filmmakers while shooting in Malta. Productions which satisfy the conditions of the Malta Film Commission's cultural test, in which local, Mediterranean and European themes are rewarded with a rebate of up to 27 percent of eligible expenditure.
"Crews come from all over Europe and America. China and India are new targets"
"Malta's competitive rates coupled with generous financial incentives are key to continuing to attract high-end productions. It is for this reason that our incentives are regularly evaluated in order to retain the competitive edge with the next review being planned for 2017," says Engelbert Grech, Malta's film commissioner.
Malta is a unique destination within the European Union because of its period backdrops and top-level studio facilities, such as Malta Film Studios' fully-equipped water tanks with natural horizons. Ridley Scott was so impressed by the latter when making White Squall (1996), he did not hesitate to return to shoot Gladiator (2000) in the adaptable and historic Fort Ricasoli.