Following news that production of Jurassic Park in Malta will be scaled down significantly, the Malta Producers Association (MPA) has called out the Malta Film Commission for remaining too dependent on multi-million productions and failing to support local producers through the new funding mechanism Screen Malta.
“Large movies are important for Malta but they rarely hire locals in proper high level roles, whilst smaller films, co-productions and local films are the productions where local crew and talent have the opportunity to be more involved in decision making capacities and thus can grow and up-skill,” they said.
The MPA complained of being snubbed by film authorities after the Malta Film Commission failed to consult the organisation prior to publishing guidelines on the new funding mechanism Screen Malta.
MPA put forward a set of proposals to the Malta Film Commission, but it says that no acknowledgement was received.
The MPA had previously noted a conflict of interest, whereby a member of the Evaluation Board was a recipient of the Film Fund. When MPA inquired on the matter and whether the issue will be rectified, no reply was given.
The association holds that Malta’s film industry needs to take “bolder steps” in order to foster a sustainable local industry, while the Film Commissioner ought to meet with local producers and industry stakeholders to discuss weaknesses and opportunities for improvement in the industry.
“The industry in Malta must diversify and not remain solely dependent on simply bringing in a multi-million picture every other year. The Film Commissioner is missing a serious trick if his vision is limited to this alone,” they emphasised.
MPA further went on to criticise the Film Commissioner Johann Grech and Minister for Tourism Julia Farrugia Portelli for prioritising “marketing PR exercises with unnecessary glitzy videos, which presumably are paid for through the limited fund coffers further reducing what is available for the industry.”
This is not the first time that the MPA has criticised authorities for prioritising blockbuster films over local productions. Earlier this year, Arts Council Malta slashed funding for the renowned Valletta Film Festival to 30% of its usual budget, with the Valletta Cultural Agency organising a more Hollywood-focused festival in its place.