Why Film in Malta?

Malta Film Benefits and Financial Incentives

Dr. Susanna Grech Deguara | 05 Jun 2023

why film in malta

Malta, with its baroque architecture, Mediterranean scenery and modern freshness, has attracted the Film Industry to its shores for the past decades. Malta can dub for several locations in different eras could double up for practically any place, old and new. Dubbed by CNN as “a Hollywood in the Mediterranean”, Malta retained this momentum for the last decade or so.

Film in Malta in a Nutshell 

The last ten years have seen such an influx of film in Malta that local crews have faced challenges to keep up with the increasing demand. The Maltese economy yielded €105 million from the film industry in the last four years. With 65 different productions, 26 of which were films or TV series, the film industry in Malta has highly contributed to job creation for a range of sectors including hotels, transport and logistics, catering, costume-makers and others involved in building and adapting film sets. 

Key Benefits of Filming in Malta

  • Cash Rebates for the film industry in Malta
  • Creative Malta Fund for films and productions in Malta
  • Co-Production Treaties for film in Malta

Cash Rebates in Malta Film Industry

The film industry in Malta has recently seen an upgrade in the cash rebates available. Productions can benefit from a rebate up to 40% of eligible expenditure, subject to the satisfaction of a cultural test. Once filming is complete and the Malta Film Commission receives the official audit report, the cash rebate is provided to the production within five months from the date of receipt of the production expenditure. Essentially, this rebate is available to multiple types of productions including feature films, television series, animations and creative documentaries, provided that they are entirely or partially filmed in Malta. 

What could be claimed? 

The cash rebate is available on qualifying expenditure incurred on EU services during the production in Malta including inter alia, accommodation, transportation equipment and hire, location fees, catering services, per diems, leasing of offices, computer equipment, props, property, animals, equipment, vehicles, and boats. Other qualifying expenditure includes wardrobe rental, courtesy payments, telecommunications, craft service, laundry and cleaning services and professional services. 

Cultural Test 

For a production to qualify for the rebate, it must pass a set cultural test. This is essentially a scoring system which factors for several scenarios and instances. The test is made up of three sections: 

  1. Cultural Content
  2. Creative Collaboration
  3. Use of Malta’s Cultural Resources

By way of indication, points are granted if the storyline or underlying material reflects cultural diversity (in line with cultural and artistic expression with an essential role in upholding the freedom of expression, diversity and creativity, as well as democratic citizenship as set out by the UNESCO Convention on the Protection and Promotion of the Diversity of Cultural Expressions, Paris 2005), or if the storyline is set in a fictional world that cannot be determined, which offers effective stimulus for the enhancement of creativity. 

Creative Malta Fund 

Another fund available for the film industry is the Creative Malta Fund. The Creative Malta Fund provides financial support to fiction, animation and creative documentary projects. The main aim of the Creative Malta Fund is to facilitate the creation of eligible projects which can be intended for either theatrical releases, festivals or broadcasting (including VOD/SVOD platforms). Through the Creative Malta Fund, the Malta Film Commission seeks to boost the expression of creativity and culture, whilst strengthening aspects of the economy thanks to the supply of cultural products and the development of skill. The Creative Malta Fund can be availed of both at pre-production as well as at production phase and is divided into four main categories: 

  1. Writers Support
  2. Development Support
  3. Production Support
  4. New Talent

The Creative Malta Fund covers 50% of the eligible costs (60% in co-productions which involve more than one EU member state and 80% in cases of difficult audiovisual works). The aid intensity to schemes falling under pre-production may be of up to 100%. However, such aid would be incorporated in the overall budget. Financial aid provided under the Creative Malta Support Schemes is considered non-recoupable. 

Eligibility for Creative Malta Fund

For a project to qualify under the Creative Malta Fund, either its producer, writer or director must be a Maltese citizen or must hold a permanent residence status in Malta. This notwithstanding, some projects are deemed ineligible due to their nature. These include reality shows, magazine and lifestyle programmes, discussion programmes, quizzes and game shorts, advertorials and light entertainment, corporate communications and info-mercials as well as all works which violate the Maltese constitution. 

Culture Criteria 

Projects will only be considered cultural products if they contribute to the Maltese or European culture, make any contribution to the development of the film and TV industry in Malta or the EU or if they are considered cultural. 

Co-Production Treaties 

Malta is a signatory to the major conventions which regulate the film industry, including the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-Production. The main aim of this convention is to promote the development of European multilateral cinematographic co-production, whilst safeguarding creation and freedom of expression. Moreover, Malta has signed a bilateral co-production treaty with Canada and China. These treaties offer qualifying productions the possibility of funding and cash rebates. 

What This Means for You

With one of the largest production facilities in the world, Malta offers a unique environment for films and productions. It is not only an ideal location, but through the several financial incentives it also gives crucial financial support to the film industry. How we can help 

As part of our Media Industry team, our Malta film team advises clients in this area on all the following aspects: 

  • film and television finance (including equity finance and bank lending)
  • contracts, including negotiation, start-up, underlying material rights, exploitation of rights
  • location procurement and arrangements, including permits, licensing and authorisation issues
  • corporate law and the setting up and restructuring of film and television production companies, including administration and back office services
  • employment agreements and work permits
  • tax, financial and other incentives
  • international co-production issues, including negotiation, drafting and finalisation of any arrangements, qualification issues and liaison with local authorities
  • property purchases, leasing or temporary accommodation issues
  • tax advice and fiscal incentives
  • insurances procurement
  • intellectual property protection
  • dispute resolution, including court litigation, mediation or arbitration


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