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The Maltese Film Industry

03.07.2015

Geopolitical characteristics

An independent republic, with a parliamentary style of Government, Malta is an EU member state with Maltese and English being the official languages.

With over 90 years’ experience in the film industry, the Maltese archipelago has welcomed some of the most renamed filmmakers and hosted several blockbusters Malta’s central geographical position in the Mediterranean was a determining factor of choice for operators choosing between different countries.

In addition to its breath-taking sceneries and Mediterranean settings, Malta features various assets:

  • Long hours of daylight throughout the year;
  • Well-equipped water tank facility;
  • Very good quality of life, with a low cost of living;
  • 2nd safest country in the world (World Risk Report 2014);
  • Well-connected with regular flights;
  • Highly educated and skilled workforce who are fluent in English;
  • Competitive rates for crews, artists and extras; and
  • Efficient tax system.

Specific legislation of the filming industry

The Malta Film Commission Act  was set up by an Act of Parliament. The commission is the government entity in charge of the promotion of Malta as a shooting location and is the administrator of the cash incentive scheme. Producers shooting in Malta can obtain cash rebates of up to 25% of eligible spend in Malta.

In the recent years, Malta has been the shooting location for a number of Indian producers.

Cash and Tax Incentives and Investment Aid

Cash Rebates – Producers shooting in Malta receive cash rebates of up to 25% of eligible spend. The scheme is applicable for feature films, TV series, documentaries and partial productions.

Co-production fund - a government fund specifically targeting the funding of co-production of feature film, tv series, documentaries and animation and cross media productions between Maltese and foreign producers.

Tax rebates – investment aid under the Malta Enterprise Act. Entities investing in Malta can benefit from tax rebates on eligible capital investment. Qualifying entities must be engaged in eligible activities (production, provision of facilities, operation of studios, development (incl. audio visual media and digital games).

Malta Trading Company - A Malta trading company is an onshore business company taxable on a worldwide basis at the normal corporate tax rate of 35%. Shareholders are entitled to a 6/7ths refund, reducing the effective tax rate to 5% at shareholder level. Malta’s corporate tax rate is chargeable on company’s profits after deducting all allowable business expenses. Maltese companies are able to conduct any business activity, whether in or outside Malta, including buying and selling of commodities, agency and representation, financial, consulting and advisory services, e-commerce and online gaming.

Personal Tax - 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.

Malta as a Filming Location

Locations

Malta’s history and culture have left an indelible mark on its locations and landscapes.

Coupled with the current modern infrastructure and commercial and touristic projects, Malta offers a varied array of locations that have doubled for any desired settings, ranging from ancient civilisations, street shooting, underwater and aquatic scenes to exotic locations.

The climate permits an average filming days in excess of 300 days per year, ensuring maximum cost effectiveness.

Human Resources

Malta offers local talent in both above-the-line and below-the-line managers, human resources and trained crew and extras.

The government of Malta consistently support the industry with specific training programmes, making local talent always available to film producers even in times when multiple productions are shooting concurrently.

Film Facilities

Malta is best renowned for its equipped water tanks within the Mediterranean Film Studios. These water tanks are amongst the largest in the world and operate with a natural ocean horizon as a backdrop.

These tanks have been the shooting location for a number of feature film, documentary, TV series and commercials. Built in the 1960’s the 90,000 sqm feet water studio complex is on the edge of a natural harbour over-looking the Mediterranean Sea. Thanks to this facility, producers can plan their projects around the controlled water environment without sacrificing the realism of filming in a natural location.

The facility offers 3 specialist tanks:

  • Surface Marine Tank water (122m x 92m x 1.8m depth),
  • Deep Water Marine Tank (108m x48m sloping down to a depth of 11m) and
  • Covered Insert Tank.

Note: The concession for the operation of the Mediterranean Film Studios ended in 2015. There is currently an open expression of interest for operators who are interested in taking the government concession and operate the studios.

Notable feature films and TV series shot in Malta

  • 13 Hours (the secret soldiers of Benghazi)
  • 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 Kristo (2002)
  • Gladiator (2000)

Why Nexia BT?

Composed of a team of over 130 professionals, and with over 24 years of experience in the sector, Nexia BT can provide assistance to a portfolio of services in connection with the film industry including:

  •   tax planning (Tax Incentives and Investment Aid),
  • the incorporation of the appropriate corporate structures, and  advisory services  such as corporate finance, EU funding, business planning, cost; and
  • managerial accounting as well as internal audit and ad hoc audit assignments.

Contacts

Karl Cini
Partner
karl.cini@nexiabt.com