Malta National Film Industry Convention "FilmSpeak"

| Published on 06 Mar 2012

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Malta’s film convention, FilmSpeak 2012, an initiative of the Malta Film Commission and Malta’s Finance Ministry, took place at the Palace Hotel in Sliema on the 23rd February, 2012. Malta’s film industry insiders and service providers, as well as Government representatives together with a number of top names in the international filming industry gathered at this landmark event to exchange their views on the Maltese film industry.

Finance Minister, Tonio Fenech, who opened the event, argued that recent activity in the filming sector has created significant opportunities, not only for operators who are directly involved in the film industry, but also for other areas of the industry that benefit from such activity, such as hotels, restaurants, transport companies and so on. This in turn helped the country’s economy and gave rise to a number of job opportunities. Indeed, Malta has hosted 65 productions in the past four years, including over 26 films or television series, which have generated over €105 million.

The convention included a number of workshops with the aim of addressing a number of potential issues, such as legal and logistical issues, that workers in the film industry typically face and which they say gives rise to certain snags when it comes to closing the deal for production to start. These issues were highlighted so as to ensure that Malta keeps its position as an attractive filming destination with foreign companies.

Among the issues raised was the lengthy process required to issue a Schengen visa. Film Commissioner Peter Busuttil said that “due to Schengen regulations, the authorities do not have much room for manoeuvre when it comes to processing visa applications. However, there is a fast-track process in place for employment permits in genuine cases of emergencies and we are assured that the employment authority is going out of its way to facilitate the process.”

Mr. Busuttil went on to say that “the aim behind this first Filmspeak convention is to listen to what the stakeholders are telling us. We want to take a reasonable approach that will result in higher efficiency. We will definitely be following up on these suggestions.”

The director of the European Film Academy, Marion Doring; the head of production at WARP (UK), Barry Ryan and locations manager Christian McWilliams, all three being key players on the international scene spoke at the event and noted that Malta possesses unique properties which has placed the island at the forefront of the filming industry.  McWilliams’s portfolio boasts titles such as Braveheart, Mission Impossible: Ghost Protocol and WorldWar Z, which was recently filmed in Malta.

This is an important year for the film industry in Malta, as it shall be hosting the European Film Awards.


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