The Film Industry in Malta - Advantages & Incentives

Updated: July 31, 2020 | 10 minute read

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Malta Film Industry -  Advantages & Incentives

The Maltese archipelago over the years has established itself as an international production hub specialising in exterior filming. The Malta Film Industry has garnered itself an esteemed reputation, and for good reasons.

An independent republic, Malta is an EU member state with Maltese and English being the official languages.

The islands’ geographical position in the Mediterranean makes it one of the most preferred filming locations for 2020.

Malta has been attracting filmmakers from all over the world with its yacht-strewn azure coastlines and historically significant structures.


 

The Film Industry in Malta (Advantages & Incentives)

 

Why is Malta popular in the Film Industry?

Malta is internationally popular as a suitable double for Middle Eastern locations. The historic city of Valletta and former capital Mdina are home to some of the regions’ famous architecture.

It does not end there, with its picturesque locations. Malta also offers many other qualities like:

  • More than 300 days of sunshine with long daylight hours throughout the year;

  • Well-equipped water tank facility;

  • Well-connected with regular flights;

  • The islands’ small size makes it possible for filmmakers to shoot at multiple locations in a single day;

  • Highly educated and skilled workforce (fluent in English);

  • Competitive rates for crews, artists and extras; and

  • Tax-efficient system.

 

Other than Malta’s compact size, which makes all parts of the island easily accessible by road; Malta also offers Financial Incentives to all the producers who plan on filming in Malta (for 2020).

The Malta Film Commission (MFC)  is the government body responsible for the promotion, development and support of the audiovisual industry, including the film servicing industry in Malta.

 

#1 The Malta Tourism Authority

The Malta Tourism Authority (MTA) plays a diverse role, and the most important one of all is to create and foster relationships.

The MTA offers financial assistance for film and television productions that choose to film in Malta depicting ‘Malta' directly.

The MTA considers partially sponsoring the following elements of the production, which also include the initial scouting and technical research. Assistance may either be given in terms of directly supporting the below items of expenditure or in the form of a lump sum grant which is established based on estimated costings.

  • Flights to and from Malta where there are direct routes served by Air Malta;

  • Transportation of cargo where there are direct routes served by Air Malta;

  • Locations fees in public areas that are administered by the Central Government or local councils;

  • Hotel accommodation for cast and crew; and

  • Transport costs of production vehicles.

 

Each production is treated on a case by case basis. So, the film production company will be required to comply with the following artistic merits to qualify for consideration for financial assistance. Proposals will be reviewed on a case by case basis, and only those considered beneficial to MTA's marketing plan for the country concerned will be selected for assistance.

 
  • Malta to be featured prominently in the script and locations featured to be authentic;

  • In a TV series, episodes should depict or mention Malta with a minimum of 50% in each episode to be shot locally;

  • Several promotional slots are to be featured in TV films/episodes before the scheduled screening;

  • The production company is to engage the services of a local production manager and priority should be given to hiring local cast and crew.

 

The Authority will give priority to productions that will broadcast a documentary on the ‘The Making of' the film/episode. A copy is to be forwarded to the authority.

The MTA is authorised to use the footage for marketing purposes only after the film/TV episode have been released to the general public.

 

bharat shooting mdina malta film location

 

#2 Malta Cash Rebates 

The Maltese government upgraded the cash rebates making the financial guidelines more attractive for filmmakers. 

To qualify for Malta Cash Rebates, productions must spend a minimum of €100,000 in Malta with an overall budget exceeding €200,000.

Productions which satisfy a cultural test can benefit from a rebate up to 40% of eligible expenditure. 

The cash rebate is given to the qualifying production within a period of five months after:

  • The completion of the film;

  • The receipt of the audit report; and 

  • The final review by the Commissioner.

 

The scheme is applicable for various productions like:

  • Feature films; 

  • TV films or series or mini-series; 

  • Documentaries; 

  • Animation; 

  • Creative documentary; 

  • Transmedia; and 

  • Cross-media productions.

 

Assassin's creed filming in Valletta

 

#3 Co-Production Fund for Film Production in Malta

The primary objective of the Co-Production Fund is to promote collaborative work between foreign and Maltese companies intending on creating audio-visual content for cinema release/broadcast and suitable for international distribution.

The fund is aimed at the growth and development of the Maltese film industry which would consequently boost the country’s economy as all the qualifying projects will have to be filmed primarily in Malta and make use of Maltese talent.

All this has been put into place to strengthen the connections between the Maltese and international producer and to develop skills in the Maltese film industry.

The Co-Production agreements not only allow partner countries to share the risk and cost of screen production but also offers cultural and economic benefits to partner countries.

The total budget allocated under the Malta Co-Production Fund in €1 million per annum.

With regards to the cost and nature of each proposed action and the limits of the available budgetary resources, the amount of the financial contribution to be granted will be determined.

 

Gladiator movie set

#4 Tax Credits on Filming in Malta

Under the Malta Enterprise Act, investment aid is available for audio-visual facilities and the qualifying production companies are provided with the aid in the form of Tax Credits.

Depending on the capital investment value or the value of wages created for 24 months, the percentage of the tax credits is calculated.

As established by the Incentive Guidelines, Qualifying enterprise must be engaged solely in eligible activities:

  • The production of the audio-visual pieces like feature films, television films, advertisements and documentaries through script-writing, casting, shooting, directing and editing;

  • The equipment and operation & provision of facilities like film studios, audio-visual editing facilities and filming equipment required in the production of feature films, television films, advertisements and documentaries;

  • The development of digital audio-visual media and digital games; and

  • The operation of a sound studio.

Important: Projects involved in the broadcasting of audio-visual content to live audiences through any media channels and/or engaged in programming and broadcasting activities are not considered eligible.

 
 
Mdina Gate in Game of Thrones

 

#5 The Maltese Taxation System

A Malta trading company is an onshore business company taxable on a worldwide basis at the normal corporate tax rate of 35%.

Shareholders are typically entitled to a 6/7ths refund, reducing the effective tax rate to 5% at the shareholder level.

Malta’s corporate tax rate is chargeable on the company’s profits after deducting all allowable business expenses.

Maltese companies are able to conduct any business activity, whether in or outside Malta. Activities include buying and selling of commodities, agency and representation, financial, consulting and advisory services, e-commerce and online gaming.

#6 Personal Tax System in Malta

Foreign crew spending less than 180 days working on set in Malta can opt not to pay tax in Malta but to pay the contribution in their habitual residence jurisdiction.

Know all about Malta’s Personal Taxation System (for 2020) here.

 

Troy movie set Malta
 

Other Advantages of Filming in Malta

The small island nation has the Malta Film Studios (MFS), one of the largest production facilities in the world for its primary asset. 

The studio has one indoor tank and two large exterior water tanks with special effects equipment like:

  • Wave Machines;

  • Tip Tanks;

  • Wind Machines;

  • Rain Towers;

  • Water Shooters; and

  • Smoke Machines.

 

The Malta film commission also has several grants like Writers Grant, Development Grant, Production Grant and Distribution Grant for the production companies who are planning on shooting in Malta.

Other than that, the highly skilled and professional working class of Malta can assist in various pre and post-production requirements like:

  • The building of film sets;

  • Rental of Props from large carts and market stalls to smaller items such as cutlery and silverware;

  • Facility vehicles and transport;

  • Editing;

  • ADR Facilities;

  • Visual Effects; and

  • Camera & Audio equipment.

 

The post-production rebates have now been made eligible with a €150,000 cap per project.

Read more about the Top Malta Film Locations for 2020.

 

Malta Film Studios

 

Films Shot in Malta

  • Bharat (2019)

  • Thugs of Hindostan (2018)

  • 13 Hours - the secret soldiers of Benghazi (2016)

  • Assassin’s Creed (2015)

  • By the Sea (2014)

  • WWZ (2013)

  • Captain Phillips (2013)

  • Sinbad (2012)

  • Devil’s double (2010)

  • Game of Thrones (2010)

  • Wickie the Viking (2009)

  • Agora (2009)

  • Da Vinci Code (2006)

  • Munich (2006)

  • Troy (2004)

  • Asterix and Obelisk (2002)

  • The Count of Monte Cristo (2002)

  • Gladiator (2000) and many more.

 

Clash of the Titans in Gozo
 

Why Nexia BT?

With a team of seasoned professionals and vast experience in various sectors, Nexia BT can assist with a portfolio of services in connection with the film industry, including:

  • Preparation of applications for cash grants and other incentives;

  • Advice on maximising the cash grants and other incentives through proper Tax Planning;

  • The incorporation of the appropriate corporate structures, and advisory services such as corporate finance, EU funding, business planning, cost;

  • Accounting for film projects, payroll administration for local crew and extras;

  • Connection with other film industry service providers on the island;

  • Audits of financial statements and other ad hoc audit assignments.

For further assistance, please Contact Us today.

 
Written by
Yashica K. Pathak
Editorial Content Manager

 

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