Where’s the economic benefit from funding foreign films, Opposition asks

The tens of millions of euros the government is pumping into foreign film productions is leaving a negligible economic on the country and is simply going toward paying the salaries of film crews when working in Malta, according to the Opposition.

Shadow Culture Minister Julie Zahra made the statement in reaction to the news that Malta awarded €143 million in public funds to 54 films and television series over the past five years – and around €47 million for the Gladiator 2 production alone.

Zahra called on the government to explain how much economic value such productions are leaving behind in Malta when compared to the amounts they are being given in cash rebates to the tune of 40% of local expenses, which was introduced despite advice to the contrary the government had from experts in the sector.

Moreover, the amount distributed to foreign film productions dwarfs the mere €600,000 allocated to the Screen Malta fund that Maltese companies can apply for to help them compete with foreign productions.

“After the government conducted an entire campaign to entice Maltese to take up careers in the film industry and after the money it spent on gala dinners and dinosaur statues for foreign films, the question is: what benefits is this all leaving on the Maltese economy?”

The Opposition said that if the government is truly committed to helping the local film industry and Maltese producers, it would consider its proposal for a co-production fund that allows Maltese producers to operate on a level playing field with others.

The tens of millions in expenditure on foreign film productions, Zahra said, represent “another clear example of squandering the people’s money on the few”.

In reaction, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo, who is responsible for the film industry, said the last few years were the best the domestic industry had seen and claimed the “systematic attack (on the industry) is an attack on the country and the people working and investing in the film industry.”

The cash rebate program, he insisted, is a fiscal incentive that gives “a percentage” of funds back to local and foreign productions after proof of how the money was spent in Malta is presented through a “rigorous audit”.

He accused the Opposition of an “irresponsible campaign based on baseless facts that can drive away investment, disrupt people’s work and threaten the film industry.”

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Francis Said
Francis Said
1 month ago

All well and good. Has anyone in Government even consider to tie the amount passed on to foreign film production to include a clause.
A small percentage of the total revenue that the film earns when released.

Anne R. key
Anne R. key
1 month ago

Do us all a big favour Clayton, go stuff yourself…….!

saviour mamo
saviour mamo
1 month ago

Minister Clayton Bartolo should have added “A rigorous audit similar to the deal with Vitals and Steward”. Mur u Ħallina ministru. 

Joe l ghasfur
Joe l ghasfur
1 month ago

Jien ma nistax niefem x beneficat qed ikollu l poplu Malti meta jigi l ministru jiftahar li nefqu 143miljuni f 5 snin. Veru li trid taghti incentiv, izda hemm bzon tonfoq dawn il miljuni kolla?
mela dawn il kumpaniji kemm qeghdin jonfqu flus hawn Malta? Iktar nahseb li din hi xi blafjatua (korrotta) ohra ghax issa saret moda li jekk ma nahxux ma nkunux bhal hadiehor. Ma nafx min ser issib tarf ta dan il hazen li pajjizna waqa fih.

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