Mediterrane Film Festival Overlooks Grassroots Realities - MEIA and MPA Call for Fulfilment of Promises


The Mediterrane Film Festival wrapped up last Sunday with a lavish gala, during which Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech proclaimed that “the growth of filmmaking in Malta has paralleled the growth of Malta as a nation.” Amidst the prolific workshops and screenings, the conspicuous lack of Maltese films indicates that the success being lauded isn’t quite there. 

The Malta Producers’ Association (MPA) and Malta Entertainment Industry and Arts Association (MEIA) maintain that for local filmmakers, crew, and stories to truly and sustainably prosper, three key promises need to be fulfilled:

1) A Cohesive National Film Policy

In 2022, during Malta Film Week, Minister for Tourism Clayton Bartolo announced the ‘Vision 2030’ strategy, which aimed to place the indigenous film industry at the forefront. To date, this strategy has not yet materialised, and several stakeholders await consultation. The MPA and MEIA advocate for establishing a cohesive National Film Policy, especially now that the film fund has moved to Arts Council Malta (under the Ministry for Culture, while the Malta Film Commission falls under the Ministry for Tourism). This policy is crucial to eliminate the current fragmentation and ensure a functional ecosystem that reliably and sustainably supports, trains, and provides employment to Maltese filmmakers.

2) Domestic Screen Production Fund Increase

The Labour Party’s 2022 electoral manifesto pledged an increase in the budget for the national film fund, now being administered by the Arts Council Malta, to €2 million. This commitment has not transpired. Moreover, the fund has been either issued haphazardly or not at all over the past few years. Consequently, Maltese filmmakers have had to contend with a fundamental disadvantage in an already highly competitive and challenging landscape. We urge the responsible entities to provide clarity and expedite the allocation of funds, ensuring that the Maltese film industry becomes a vibrant and competitive sector, making the significant contributions to the cultural and economic fabric of the country that it can and should make.

3) Cash Rebate Guidelines

As Film Commissioner Johann Grech rightly points out, cash rebates are essential to attract international productions and enable local projects in today’s global audiovisual reality. Malta’s rebate has attracted a lot of activity; however, for the investment to actually be channelled into the local economy—and to foster and safeguard the local filmmaking community—the guidelines must be amended. The much-promised revised cash rebate guidelines for 2024 urgently need to be published, as the pace and nature of the industry don’t afford such delays. Industry players have been informed that the revisions are in the process of being approved by the authorities—although the nature of these revisions is not clear. The MPA and MEIA call on the authorities to publish the revised guidelines without further delay and to start an inclusive consultation process for 2025.

The MPA and MEIA have long insisted on a more integrated and systematic approach to stakeholder engagement. For there to truly be unity through film, dialogue between the government, local stakeholders, and experienced industry professionals is critical. The Film Commissioner proclaimed that he intends to “keep giving new chances for Maltese talent to shine.” Following through on these commitments is the true test of dedication and will genuinely give us something to celebrate at the next edition of the festival.


The MPA and MEIA stand united in their mission to create a more inclusive and supportive environment for local filmmakers. We urge the government and relevant authorities to recognise and address the existing disparities within the industry. By implementing a cohesive National Film Policy, increasing budget allocations for domestic productions, and enhancing the effectiveness of cash rebates, Malta can foster a thriving film industry that values and nurtures local talent. It is only through genuine collaboration and commitment to these goals that Malta’s film industry can reach its full potential, benefiting both the local creative community and the broader national economy.

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Photo Credits: Albert Camilleri