21-11-2019

Interview with Simon Sansone, President of Malta Producers Association: Impact of 40% Cash Rebate

Written by
Simon Sansone, President of Malta Producers Association Simon Sansone, President of Malta Producers Association

FNE spoke with Simon Sansone, President of the Malta Producers Association and line-producer, about the latest developments in the Maltese film industry and what still needs to be done.

FNE: What is the impact of the new 40% cash rebate so far?

Simon Sansone: The impact is very good, almost too good since, due to the size of the island, local resources are very stretched. This year, 2019, seems to have attracted a good number of productions and has opened up the country to a level of production which previously could not afford to come to Malta, whilst also strengthening the attractiveness for larger productions.

FNE: What else do you think should be done in order to have the perfect conditions for film production in Malta?

Simon Sansone: There are many things that could be done to further improve the industry in Malta. The current items in the pipeline are certainly required to help the industry grow. These items are:

  • construction of a sound stage
  • refurbishment of the water tank facility
  • refurbishment of Malta's primary backlot at Fort Ricasoli

Aside from these, focus on sustainability through:

  • increase, diversification and better accessibility of alternate funding strands, not just the Film Incentive (take Malta's 600,000 EUR Film Fund compared with Iceland's 7.8 m EUR)
  • a strong focus on promoting coproductions to help create a sustainable local industry
  • training programmes to help increase and elevate the local skill-set

These are the items that the Malta Producers Association (MPA) definitely believes are vital for the growth and improvement of the audiovisual industry in Malta.

In terms of the latter, training should happen both on an independent level, in the sense of short courses and ongoing training especially in areas which they are lacking, and also on an institutional level, in the sense of integrating hands-on experience on film or TV sets for students as part of audio-visual courses.

The MPA would also like to see added incentives aimed at attracting a larger stock of film equipment to the island and more cooperation and collaboration with the government and some of the more used local councils and institutions on formulating a practical, more cost-effective and sustainable film policy, standards and appropriate regulation.

FNE: Has the building of a sound stage already started? When is it supposed to be finished?

Simon Sansone: Pinning the authorities down on specifics of this has so far proven difficult. The process has started, but no construction has yet begun. We are told construction and the project will commence in the beginning of 2020 and will be complete some time that year.