Malta

Maneland by Peter Sant, credit: Michael GaleaCOUNTRY REPORT 2016

Malta saw a somewhat quieter year in 2016, albeit still managing to attract a few names and productions of note, and making significant steps towards the establishment of film as a medium of indigenous creative expression, artistic appreciation and academic inquiry.

 

PRODUCTION

Local film production saw two feature films made and benefiting from financial incentives from the Malta Film Commission: Peter Sant’s Maneland, an allegorical film about a king who lives with his three daughters in an island bunker, and Mark Doneo’s The Weeping House of Qala produced by his own Mad Movies Productions, a ghost story based on an urban legend about a dilapidated house.

U-Film resumed work on their miniseries entitled The Mystery of the Brittanic, completing episodes 2, 3 and 4, with Evgeny Tomashov and Sergey Veksler taking turns in the director’s chair. The same company also serviced Bulgarian director Javor Gardev’s Ikariya, a Russian sci-fi thriller based on the myth of Daedalus and Icarus.

Lana Wachowski brought Daryl Hannah and the rest of the Sense8 cast to shoot a special episode of the Netflix series, which was serviced by Pearly Gates. Another key figure, Gabriele Salvatores, filmed parts of Indigo Film and Rai Cinema’s Invisible Boy 2 / Il Ragazzo Invisible: Fratelli, with Valeria Golino. Latina Pictures took care of the shoot in Malta.

The largest foreign production was a retelling of the 1976 hijacking and subsequent rescue in the eponymous Entebbe, with José Padilha (Bus 174, RoboCop) calling the shots, and featuring Rosamund Pike and Daniel Brühl. Pellikola serviced the production for Working Title Films. Another remake, Papillon, brought Charlie Hunnam and Rami Malek to Malta for a five-day shoot in the tanks at Malta Film Studios and at a cliff-side location. Red Granite pictures appointed the Producer’s Creative Partnership, which handled the production with Twenty13.

Schiwago Film and Amour Fou steered Wolfgang Fischer’s Styx towards Malta, filming in open water around the islands, and using the storm generation facilities at Malta Film Studios. Starring Susanne Wolff and Gedion Wekesa Oduor, the film narrates the transformation of a strong woman on a solo sailing trip. Small Island Films took charge of operations in Malta, again in collaboration with Twenty13.

A mini-series based on the 1996 Yohan migrant tragedy, The Ghosts of Portopalo / I Fantasmi di Portopalo, again used the aquatic facilities at MFS. With Beppe Fiorello in the lead, the Picomedia production teamed up with the Producer’s Creative Partnership.

The Mystery of Britannic seriesTelevision series constituted a significant percentage of productions that used Malta as a base for any length of time. Paul Parker handled the Smithsonian Channel and ZDF-backed Warrior Women: The Gladiatrix Episode for Urban Canyons. Katrina Samut-Tagliaferro in turn took care of the Christmas Special for the long-running BBC series Birds of a Feather, featuring Pauline Quirke and Linda Robson. The Bravest / Danmarks Modigste, a large-scale endurance game show produced by Copenhagen-based Mastiff A/S, used the deep-water tank at the MFS as a set in itself, along with several other locations around Malta. Specialist Rock Productions helped make it happen.

Stargate Studios Malta, the key VFX provider in Malta, kept the ball rolling with three substantial jobs. The Embassy / La Embajada extended Stargate’s long-running relationship with Spanish studios, recreating Thailand on a Spanish set for Bambú Producciones. Canada-based Leif Films returned to the company with a work order for two biblical films: Joseph and Mary with Kevin Sorbo and Lara Jean Chorostecki in the lead roles, and The Apostle Peter: Redemption with familiar faces of John Rhys-Davies as Peter and Stephen Baldwin as Nero.

DISTRIBUTION

Rebecca Cremona’s Simshar kept on travelling with screenings in the UK in conjunction with We Are beyond Cinema, and in France with Visiosfeir Distribution. Festivals took the film to Chicago, New York, Leuven, France, Naples, Nice, Stockholm, Prague, Annaba, Zagora, Ashdod, New Delhi, Dubai, Singapore, and Trinidad and Tobago. And in time for the holiday season, the film made it to DVD.

Simshar’s online presence in the US and Canada spread to several networks including iTunes, Xbox, Amazon, Google Play, Time Warner Cable, AMC and the Sundance Channel, some of which made the film available to subscribers in Europe. The film was also picked up by regional networks like the Croatian B.net, Du in Dubai, OTE TV in Greece, MTN in South Africa, CableNet in Cyprus, SBB in Serbia, Solo in Nigeria and Telekom Slovenije.

GRANTS AND LEGISLATION

The Ministry of Tourism, under whose remit falls the Malta Film Commission, launched the first National Film Policy in January 2016, amid criticism that whilst a step in the right direction and inviting discussion on the preservation of film heritage, it did not go far beyond generic statements.

Released after a consultative process launched in the last quarter of 2015, the document assessed the current situation in the servicing industry, the local production situation, and the education possibilities available, making fairly generic forward-looking statements in each case. In particular, the report identified anomalous employment conditions in the servicing industry, particularly with the long hours crews were expected to work, but took a cautious approach in advocating changes.

The Malta Film Fund opened its yearly call in April and distributed 230,914 EUR in funds, split as follows:

Section Number of Projects Total Funds Awarded
Writers’ Grant 1 4,945 EUR
Development Grant 1 30,000 EUR
Production Grant: Short Films, New Talent - -
Production Grant: Short Films 4 75,969 EUR
Production Grant: Feature Films 1 120,000 EUR

 

On the occasion of Malta’s Presidency of the Council of the European Union in 2017 and Valletta’s tenure as European Capital of Culture in 2018, the Film Fund launched a surprise call in August 2016, making a further 250,000 EUR available albeit for production only. Results are expected to be released in February 2017. In conjunction with Arts Council Malta, Malta Film Commission also announced in December the intention to introduce Distribution Support in 2017.

Simshar by Rebecca CremonaUniversity of Malta's Master of Arts in Film Studies programme, funded by the Ministry of Tourism and the Malta Film Commission, saw first films made under the tutorship of Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia (writer-directors of Salvo, 2013 Grand Prix winner at the Semaine de la Critique), Scott Graham (writer-director of 2012 BAFTA-nominated Shell) and cinematographers Francesco Di Giacomo and Federico Angelucci. Robin Hardy gave a masterclass and presented the restored version of his acclaimed 1973 film The Wicker Man, his last public appearance before passing away in July 2016.

The sophomore edition of the Valletta Film Festival, with the support of the Malta Film Commission, had Sir Alan Parker as its patron, presenting a screening of Midnight Express (1978) in the same location it was filmed in. Jurors Carolina Hellsgard, Cosmina Stratan, Tamer El Said, Valery Rosier and Brontis Jodorowsky selected Måns Månsson’s The Yard as best film, and Laila Pakalnina, Yves Jeanneau and Hrönn Marinósdóttir laurelled Pablo Iraburu and Migueltxo Molina’s Walls as best documentary. Sidebar events included an international conference on the Cinema of Small European Nations.

Arts Council Malta, through its Culture Partnership Agreement, awarded funds for a three-year period to the Film Grain Foundation as organisers of the Valletta Film Festival, to Kinemastik (Kinemastik Short Film Festival) and to the Malta Film Foundation (Malta Short Film Festival).

TV

Malta has nine television channels, two of which are state-owned (TVM, TVM2), two are run by the main political parties (ONE, Net), and the rest are private. Three of the private channels have a General Interest Objectives licence (Smash TV, f Living, Xejk), and the remaining two (iTV, Owners’ Best) are teleshopping channels. The national regulators are the Malta Broadcasting Authority for content and the Malta Communications Authority for matters related to transmission and the service providers.

Transmission is digital and, depending on the provider, via cable, terrestrial wireless, or IPTV. All GIO stations (public and private) are broadcast on a free-to-air platform managed by Public Broadcasting Services Ltd, the national organisation which runs all state-owned broadcast media.

PBS has a public service obligation, for which it was given a budget of 3,900,000 EUR in 2016, and through which it issues a yearly call for programmes of a diverse nature.

Styx by Wolfgang Fischer, Credit: Mark CassarThe National Book Council held its second annual short film contest with PBS, making available 7,000 EUR in production funds and 1,000 EUR in rights, to adapt a Maltese literary work for the screen. The project for 2016 was Il-Kompliċi, directed by Ryan Gatt from a short-story by Walid Nabhan.

Foreign television channels are readily available via cable, satellite and digital terrestrial transmission. And yet, Broadcasting Authority surveys, held thrice yearly, show that TVM, ONE and Net have retained their position at the top of viewership tables. Channels from Italian state broadcaster RAI, as well as Mediaset stations, fill in the subsequent slots, maintaining a long historical tradition of Maltese viewership. Overall, Maltese channels attracted an average of 66.87% of audience share (an increase of 3.05 points over 2015). Missing from the surveys, for reasons of understandable difficulty in quantification, is the number of viewers that in 2016 had taken to watching foreign programming, US series in particular, on un-licensed streaming services on their computers or through Android TV boxes. Netflix reached Maltese shores in January 2016, but statistics for the first year have not been made publicly available.

  February 2016 July 2016 October 2016
Channel Rank Percentage Rank Percentage Rank Percentage
TVM 1 39.05 1 36.56 1 33.47
ONE 2 14.18 2 18.12 2 18.95
Net 4 10.74 4 8.14 5 9.68
Smash 15 0.33 13 0.42 13 0.29
TVM 2 10 2.04 11 1.29 7 2.62
iTV 14 0.39 14 0.41 12 0.31
f Living 11 1.19 12 1.00 10 0.50
Xejk 16 0.33 15 0.19 - -
Owners’ Best - - - - 14 0.14
Parliament TV 17 0.24 - - - -
Sub [%]   68.49   66.15   65.96
Rai Chs. 6, 12, 13 6.61 6, 10, 17 5.54 6 4.21
Mediaset 5, 7, 9 10.40 5, 7, 9 10.16 3 13.38
BBC - - - - 9 1.71
Discovery Chs. 8 2.46 8 2.63 8 2.37
MTV 18 0.20 16 0.12 11 0.46
Other Station 3 11.84 3 15.41 4 11.91
Sub [%]   31.51   33.85   34.04
Total   100   100   100

Source: Malta Broadcasting Authority

 

From the locally-made programming crop, drama remains the most popular format, consistently hitting the topmost slots. Strada Stretta from Sharp Shoot Media, a period series set in a particular Valletta street known for its hedonistic entertainment in Malta’s days as a British Colony, vied for first rank with Ċaqqufa, a series on female empowerment from Watermelon Media.

    February 2016 July 2016 October 2016
Channel Programme Rank Percentage Rank Percentage Rank Percentage
TVM Strada Stretta 1 14.23 2 9.11 1 14.29
TVM Ċaqqufa 2 13.71 1 9.53 - -
TVM Katrina 3 12.13 3 8.39 - -
TVM Ħbieb u Għedewwa 4 8.78 4 8.28 2 11.84
TVM Tereża - - - - 3 9.77

 

CONTACTS:

MALTA FILM COMMISSION
St Rocco Street
Kalkara KKR 9062
Malta
Phone: +356 2180 9135
www.maltafilmcommission.com
Engelbert Grech, Film Commissioner
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jean Pierre Borg, PR & Marketing Executive
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Warrior Women. Copyright: Urban CanyonsCREATIVE EUROPE DESK MALTA
21, Chateau de la Ville
Archbishop Street
Valletta VLT1443
Malta
Phone: +356 2567 4210
www.creativeeuropemalta.eu
Lisa Gwen Baldacchino, Head
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

ARTS COUNCIL MALTA
Casa Scaglia
16, Mikiel Anton Vassalli Street
Valletta VLT 1311
Phone: + 356 2339 7000
www.artscouncilmalta.org
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Report: Kenneth Scicluna (2017)
Sources: Malta Film Commission, The Times of Malta, The Malta Independent, Malta Today, IMDb, Official Facebook Pages for Simshar, Limestone Cowboy, Filmed in Malta, Stargate Malta, Valletta Film Festival, University of Malta, Arts Council Malta, National Book Council, Malta Broadcasting Authority, Malta Communications Authority, Ministry for Finance.

 


 

Malta Country Profile

By Kenneth Scicluna

VALLETTA: Malta celebrated 90 years of filmmaking in 2015 with several milestones.

Michael Bay’s 13 Hours crowned, in terms of the 50m USD it left behind, a bumper crop of foreign productions that sought to film in Malta, 16 of which benefitted from the Malta Film Commission’s attractive incentive scheme. Other notable names that worked on the island in 2015 include Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac in Terry George’s The Promise, Colin Firth and Rachel Weisz in James Marsh’s The Mercy, and Michael Fassbender in Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed.

The Ministry for Tourism, responsible for the film commission, launched a draft National Film Policy along with a consultation process that eventually led to a document that was received with mixed feelings.  On the plus side, the MFC also signed agreements with the Malta College for Arts, Science and Technology, as well as the University of Malta, with the aim of creating a strong skill base. In the latter case this led to the launch of a hybrid Master of Arts programme in Film Studies with a practical component. Another initiative by the MFC brought together a crew composed of trainees to create a feature film, 20,000 Reasons, under the tutorship of Film London’s Microwave International programme, which was released locally in 2016.

Rebecca Cremona’s Simshar produced by Kukumajsa Productions Ltd won awards at festivals and gained distribution online in Tunisia and in Australia, and the second feature expected to attract foreign attention, Abigail Mallia’s Limestone Cowboy produced by Take2 Entertainment, entered a long phase of postproduction work. The difficulties of indigenous filmmaking in smaller countries were brought to European attention with a special session at the European Parliament, focussing on Malta and Croatia.

Cinema audiences increased by 8% over the previous year, overwhelmingly opting for US films, with European films getting a lukewarm reception and local productions little more than a sidelong glance overall, even though Simshar was popular with audiences. On the other hand, the Valletta Film Festival got off to a great start with Roland Joffé heading an international jury.

PRODUCTION

Two feature films of note were made in 2015, both with significant involvement from the Malta Film Commission and the Malta Film Fund that it administers. 

Abigail Mallia, a name known locally for above-par television drama, steered her Limestone Cowboy, part-financed with 90,000 EUR from the MFF, into postproduction. Based on a local political dark horse, the film attracted substantial attention throughout its gestation period due to the popularity of the actors featured and the involvement of substantial amounts of extras. Hopes for a 2015 release, teased by the periodic release of production stills, did not materialise however, with the film having its first screening during the 2016 Valletta Film Festival.

Jameson Cucciardi’s 20,000 Reasons, from a script by Malcolm Galea, was the fruit of a long training scheme masterminded by the film commission in conjunction with Film London’s Microwave International programme, and a budget of 200,000 EUR sourced from a European Social Fund scheme. Seeking to bolster skills across the board, the crew benefitted from mentorship throughout the various stages of the process with the film eventually reaching local screens in 2016.

U-Film started work on Dark Waters, a documentary series on wrecks in the Mediterranean, the kind of production uniquely posed to create having a sister company called U-Boat, which specialises in underwater research with the aid of two Triton submersibles.

Returned émigré Mario Philip Azzopardi, known for directing episodes of Star Gate, Dinotopia and Degrassi, produced two television films for Canadian eOne in coproduction with his own Ċittadella Films. Titled A Dangerous Arrangement (starring Tamara Duarte and Colm Meaney) and The Red Dress (with John Rhys-Davies and Once Upon a Time’s Sean Maguire), both films were written by Azzopardi, with the former also having him as director. A large part of the cast on both films was Maltese, with Stargate Malta handling visual effects.

Stargate, a rising VFX star this side of the Mediterranean, with strong support from its parent company in Canada, has helped create another pillar of interest for foreign production companies looking at bringing film work to Malta. Beyond the usual attractions of sunlight on the same latitude as Los Angeles, good weather, a variety of locations, marine facilities, and an affordably talented, multilingual cast and crew, the offer of high-grade value-for-money visual effects has been creating its own particular kind of business, which is no longer dependent on physical locations. In fact, most of the material that Stargate handled in 2015 was shot on location away from Malta. 

On the other hand, their participation in various projects opened a conduit for elements and scenes, sometimes on a fairly large scale, to be filmed in Malta. Some of the company’s larger projects included Pietro Mennea – La Freccia del Sud (Casanova Multimedia, Milk & Honey, Rai Fiction), I Misteri di Laura (Casanova Multimedia, Mediaset), El Principe (Plano a Plano, Mediaset España), Medici: Masters of Florence (Wild Bunch, Big Light, Lux Vide – with Dustin Hoffman), and You, Me and the Apocalypse (Working Title TV, Big Balls Films, Sky, NBC – with Jenna Fischer and Rob Lowe).

Italy has long found Malta a convenient location for its television series and acclaimed leading man Raoul Bova headed back to produce and star in Fuoco Amico: TF45 (RB Productions), which was serviced by veteran company White Coral Films.

The traditional servicing industry enjoyed an equally prosperous year with several high-profile and lucrative productions spending long periods, and large amounts of cash, on the island.

Latina Pictures serviced Michael Bay’s 13 Hours, which saw the construction of a sprawling set making Malta stand for Benghazi, a hectic six-month schedule and the injection of 50m USD into the local economy. Latina also handled Justin Kurzel’s Assassin’s Creed, with Michael Fassbender, which filmed in Valletta on a closely guarded set.

Falkun Films handled Terry George’s film on the Armenian genocide, The Promise, with Charlotte Le Bon, Christian Bale and Oscar Isaac in lead roles, with Valletta this time standing in for Istanbul. The same company also facilitated the production of Stephen Quale’s The Lake with JK Simmons and Diarmaid Murtagh, which made extensive use of the aquatic facilities at the Malta Film Studios.

Russian director Yuriy Moroz brought leading man Maksim Matveyev to Malta to resume his eponymous role in the high-octane series The Gambler. U-Film provided the services, in keeping with the special relationship the company enjoys with the Russian film and television market.

Belgian company Studio 100 returned to Malta to shoot a film, with the assistance of Parker Film & TV, and featuring two characters highly popular with audiences in Flemish Belgium and the Netherlands: Mega Mindy vs Rox.

Small Island Films took care of Philippe de Chauveron’s Débarquement Immédiat!, whilst Twenty13 handled The Mercy, the Donald Donald Crowhurst project directed by James Marsh and featuring Rachel Weisz and Colin Firth.

DISTRIBUTION

Rebecca Cremona’s Simshar went from strength to strength in 2015, a feat remarkable not least because it was the first indigenous film to travel as far, as rapidly, and with as much acclaim as it did.

After finishing 2014 as the most popular Maltese film in local cinemas, and one of the two most popular films overall, Simshar made it again to local screens with a presence spanning the whole year from January to December. The film made it into the official selection of various festivals in Europe, America, Asia and Africa, winning Silver at the California Film Awards, the Silver Dhow at Zanzibar, the Golden Aphrodite at the Cyprus International Film Festival, Best International Feature at Edmonton in Canada, and the Best Director award at Agadir in Morocco.

The true breakthrough came in September 2015 with the general release in Australian cinemas through The Backlot Films, and in Tunisia via Hakka Distribution. Extended several times, the runs lasted until November 2015 down-under and till December 2015 in Tunisia.  Gravitas Ventures acquired the rights for the US and Canada and released it in November 2015 on the major VOD channels, including iTunes, Amazon, Google Play, Time Warner Cable and Comcast.

FILM INSTITUTIONS

In March 2015, the Ministry of Tourism, under whose remit the Malta Film Commission falls, announced the appointment of a consultative council to draft the first national film policy, although the names of those involved were not made public. In September 2015 the draft document was released and a public consultation process launched until October 2015. 

The document assessed the current situation in the film services industry, the local production situation, and the education possibilities available, making fairly generic forward-looking statements in each case. In particular, the report identified anomalous employment conditions in the services industry, particularly with the long hours crew were expected to work, but took a cautious approach in advocating changes. 

The final report was released in January 2016, attracting criticism that, whilst it was a step in the right direction and it cast a glance at the need for a discussion on the preservation of film heritage, it did not go far beyond the generic statements of the draft document.

The Malta Film Fund distributed 243,000 EUR in funds, split as follows:

Section Number of Projects Total Funds Awarded
Writers’ Grant 3 12,400 EUR
Development Grant 1 25,000 EUR
Production Grant: Short Films, New Talent 2 5,000 EUR
Production Grant: Short Films 1 16,000 EUR
Production Grant: Feature Films 3 185,000 EUR

In a drive to bolster film education in Malta, hitherto served by first degrees in media and communication studies at the vocational Malta College of Arts, Sciences and Technology, and at the Faculty of Media and Knowledge Sciences at the University of Malta, the Malta Film Commission signed agreements with both institutions. With MCAST, the commission signed a memorandum of understanding, through which Creative Arts students would be given the opportunity to create several featurettes under the mentorship of the film commission in the various elements required to create the clips.

At the University of Malta, the Ministry of Tourism and the film commission funded the Faculty of Arts to assist it in the setting up of a particular MA in Film Studies programme that aims to provide a solid theoretical and practical base in film.  Tutors in the first year included Antonio Piazza and Fabio Grassadonia (writer and directors of Salvo, 2013 Grand Prix winner at the Semaine de la Critique), Scott Graham (writer and director of 2012 Bafta-nominated Shell) and Gigi Roccati (Babylon Sisters, 2016).

The Valletta Film Festival, launched by the Film Grain Foundation, had its first edition in June 2015 and got off to an auspicious start. More than 5,000 tickets were sold for 77 screenings, with master classes also proving popular.

Also in June 2015, Maltese MEP Marlene Mizzi convened a seminar at the European Parliament in Brussels, to discuss the particular problems faced by the smallest filmmaking countries in Europe.  Using Simshar and Dalibor Matanić’s High Sun / Zvizdan (Croatia, Kinorama, kinorama.hr) as test cases, the seminar had Rebecca Cremona, Martina Petrović (Head of the Croatian Creative Europe Desk, Pauline Durand-Vialle (FERA CEO), Engelbert Grech (Malta Film Commissioner), Matteo Zacchetti (Deputy Head, DG Information Society and Media) and European Commissioner Günther Oettinger, as speakers.

The same topic was discussed through aesthetic, practical and academic lenses in September when the itinerant Small Nations Cinema Conference opened its 2015 sessions in Valletta.  Various filmmakers, scholars and practitioners from ancillary arts met to discuss and deliver papers on the particular voices emerging from the smallest filmmaking nations around the world.

Recognising the efforts made during the previous nine decades, Intellect added an edition on Malta to the seminal World Film Locations series, making it the only book to-date to study the productions made in Malta, of local and foreign origin, in relation to the context in which they were filmed.

EXHIBITION AND BOX OFFICE

Ticket sales for Maltese films decreased to 2.9% of total sales in 2015 from 4.2% in 2014.  US films still lead the pack with 79% of seats sold (up from 73% in 2014), with EU films registering a meagre but steady 16%.

A total of 375 different titles were shown, up from 368 in 2014. Attendance overall registered an 8% increase, with ticket sales hitting 704,243 and raking in 4.19m EUR in gross receipts, of which Maltese productions pocketed just 0.1 m EUR. Whereas in 2014 Maltese films attracted the largest audience per film (average of 5,500) and had the greatest exposure (average of 280 screening days), the figures almost halved in 2015 (audience 2,500, screening days 70), losing out to films from the US on audience and hitting a draw on the latter figure.

A winner, in rather relative terms, was the documentary format, climbing up from 121 seats sold for two films, to 5,814 admissions for 15 films. On the other hand, stereoscopic films slid downwards to 9.4% of tickets sold from 12.8%.

TV

Malta has nine television channels, two of which are state-owned (TVM, TVM2), two are run by the main political parties (ONE and Net), and the rest are private. Three of the private channels have a General Interest Objectives licence (Smash TV, f Living, Xejk), and the remaining two (iTV, Owners’ Best) are teleshopping channels. The national regulators are the Malta Broadcasting Authority for content and the Malta Communications Authority for matters related to transmission and the service providers.

Transmission is digital and, depending on the provider, via cable, terrestrial wireless, or IPTV. All GIO stations (public and private) are broadcast on a free-to-air platform managed by Public Broadcasting Services Ltd, the national organisation which runs all state-owned broadcast media.

PBS has a public service obligation for which it was given a budget of 3.9m EUR in 2015, and through which it issues a yearly call for programmes of a diverse nature.

The National Book Council launched an annual short film contest with PBS, making available 7,000 EUR in production funds and 1,000 EUR in rights, to adapt a Maltese literary work for the screen. The first project under the scheme was Dar ir-Rummien, directed by Federico Chini from a short story by Pierre J. Mejlak.

Arts Council Malta announced a scheme of its own with a budget of 280,000 EUR. Kultura TV co-finances culturally-relevant works which may be factual or fiction in nature, one-off films or serialised, as long as they are created in coproduction between one of the private television channels and a local production company. Six proposals out of 18 earned sufficient marks and were allocated a total of 184,456 EUR. Creators of televised series also have the option of applying for financing from the Malta Film Fund, although the latter intimates that they are more interested in pushing for material with international marketing potential.

Foreign television channels are readily available via cable, satellite and digital terrestrial transmission. And yet, Broadcasting Authority surveys, held thrice yearly, show that TVM, ONE and Net have retained their position at the top of viewership tables.

Channels from Italian state broadcaster RAI, as well as Mediaset stations, fill in the subsequent slots, maintaining a long historical tradition of Maltese viewership. Overall, Maltese channels attracted an average of 63.82% of audience share. Missing from the surveys, for reasons of understandable difficulty in quantification, is the number of viewers that in 2015 had taken to watching foreign programming, US series in particular, on un-licensed streaming services on their computers or through Android TV boxes. The only indications of a conjecturally substantial size of clandestine viewership came from debates on social media on series that were otherwise not available in Malta, and from the number of adverts for Android receivers. Netflix was still unavailable in 2015, being released to Maltese viewers in January 2016.

  February 2015 July 2015 October 2015
Channel Rank Percentage Rank Percentage Rank Percentage
TVM 1 36.63 1 34.45 1 39.06
ONE 2 17.52 3 15.90 2 14.88
Net 4 8.09 4 8.05 4 8.73
Smash 16 0.23 13 0.70 12 0.52
TVM 2 11 1.03 12 0.82 9 1.49
iTV 15 0.31 15 0.33 18 0.07
f Living 12 0.73 11 0.88 14 0.37
Xejk - - - - 15 0.20
Owners’ Best - - - - 16 0.15
Sub [%]   64.54   61.44   65.47
Rai 1 6 3.91 7 3.27 6 4.76
Rai 2 8 2.32 10 1.47 11 0.88
Rai 3 14 0.33 14 0.54 13 0.37
Rete 4 10 1.18 9 1.73 10 1.10
Canale 5 5 5.35 5 6.99 5 5.66
Italia 1 7 3.81 6 5.00 7 4.08
Discovery Ch. 9 2.22 8 2.96 8 2.91
MTV 13 0.59 17 0.15 17 0.12
Other Station 3 15.76 2 16.45 3 14.64
Sub [%]   35.46   38.56   34.53
Total   100   100   100

 

From the locally-made programming crop, drama remains the most popular format, consistently hitting the topmost slots. Ċaqqufa, a drama on female empowerment from Watermelon Media vied for first rank with Rewind Productions’ tale on two orphans, Katrina. A drama on a particular Valletta street, known for its hedonistic entertainment in Malta’s days as a British Colony, Strada Stretta from Sharp Shoot Media entered the charts at the fifth slot in October, to quickly climb to the top by February 2016.

    February 2015 July 2015 October 2015
Channel Programme Rank Percentage Rank Percentage Rank Percentage
TVM Ċaqqufa 1 16.09 2 14.63 2 13.84
TVM Katrina 2 13.55 1 15.10 1 14.94
TVM Ħbieb u Għedewwa 4 10.11 4 7.78 4 9.61
TVM Strada Stretta - - - - 5 9.49

 

CONTACTS

MALTA FILM COMMISSION
St Rocco Street
Kalkara KKR 9062
Malta
Phone: +356 2180 9135
www.maltafilmcommission.com
Engelbert Grech, Film Commissioner
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Jean Pierre Borg, PR & Marketing Executive
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

CREATIVE EUROPE DESK MALTA
21, Chateau de la Ville
Archbishop Street
Valletta VLT1443
Malta
Phone: +356 2567 4210
www.creativeeuropemalta.eu
Lisa Gwen Baldacchino, Head
This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Sources: Malta Film Commission, National Statistics Office, The Times of Malta, The Malta Independent, Malta Today, IMDb, Official Facebook Pages for Simshar, Limestone Cowboy, Filmed in Malta, Stargate Malta, Intellect Ltd, Valletta Film Festival, MCAST, University of Malta, Malta Broadcasting Authority
Report by Kenneth Scicluna

 

Fact box Malta

Population: 434,403 (2015)
GDP per capita in USD: 22,843 (2015)
Number of screens: 35 (2015)
Digital screens: 32 (2015)
Number of seats: 6,748 (2015)
Admissions: 704,243 (2015)
Admissions per capita: 1.62 (2015)
Box office: 4,194,000 EUR
Admissions domestic films: 20,331 (2015)
Box office domestic films: 100,000 EUR (2015)
Admissions European films: 116,850 (2015)
Box office European films: 717,000 EUR (2015)
Annual state support for film industry: 250,000 EUR (2015); 500,000 EUR (2016)

(Sources: National Statistics Office , Malta Film Commission)

MALTA ADMISSIONS 2016 TOP 10 

TITLE COUNTRY OF ORIGIN
Star Wars:  Episode VII – The Force Awakens (3D) USA
Suicide Squad (3D) USA
Finding Dory (3D) USA
Deadpool USA
Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them USA
The Jungle Book (3D) USA
Batman V Superman:  Dawn of Justice (3D) USA
The Secret Life of Pets (3D) USA
Daddy's Home USA
Captain America:  Civil War (3D) USA

Source: KRS Releasing

Malta Box Office Top Ten 2015

Title 

Country of Origin

Admissions

Spectre

UK/USA

41,369

Minions

USA 

37,139

Fast &Furious 7

USA/ Japan

36,965

Fifty Shades of Grey

USA

26,382

Jurassic World

USA/China

24,195

Cinderella

USA

18,635

Star Wars: The Force Awakens

USA

18,618

Inside Out

USA

17,378

The Avengers: Age of Ultron

USA

16,068

Hotel Transylvania 2

USA

15,127

 

Top 10 in Europa Cinemas Network cinemas (2015)

(2 towns, 2 cinemas, 14 screens)

1. Spectre (USA), by Sam Mendes
2. Fast &Furious 7 (USA), by James Wan 
3. Fifty Shades of Grey (USA), by Sam Taylor-Johnson
4. Star Wars: The Force Awakens (USA), by J.J. Abrams
5. Jurassic World (USA), by Colin Trevorrow
6. Minions (USA), by Kyle Balda, Pierre Coffin
7. The Avengers: Age of Ultron  (USA), by Joss Whedon
8. Cinderella (USA), Kenneth Branagh
9. Inside Out (USA), by Pete Docter, Ronaldo Del Carmen
10. Taken (France), by Olivier Megaton

Source Europa Cinemas

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Interview with Engelbert Grech

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Interview with Peter Busuttil

Peter

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Partner links Malta

 maltacommisssion

Ufilm

 

Ministry of Tourism and Culture - http://www.tourismandculture.gov.mt

Media Desk Malta - http://www.media.org.mt