Ancient history and grand scenic locales make Malta an unforgettable shooting experience
With over 7,000 years of history, Malta is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, full of rich culture and heritage. Dating back to the Neolithic period, you will find Megalithic temples the oldest free-standing structures, and remains of the Byzantine, Phoenician and Roman eras.
Consisting of three islands – Malta, Gozo, Comino – there are plenty of picturesque locations to shoot at. The islands present a kaleidoscope of past and present, a fascinating legacy of European culture and rural Mediterranean traditions. Malta is also becoming a major island in film production, with films like Gladiator, Troy and Count Of Monte Cristo shot here. This island is also the highlight of every Mediterranean holiday.
Malta has a subtropical-Mediterranean climate with mild winters and warm to hot summers. Rain occurs mainly in winters, with summer generally being dry. Malta’s ideal climate is strongly influenced by the sea and is typical of the Mediterranean region. The islands have a daily average of five to six hours of sunshine in mid-winter to more than 12 hours in summer.
Summers are hot, dry and very sunny. Daytime temperatures in summer are often mitigated by cool sea breeze but in spring and autumn, a very hot wind from Africa, known as the Sirocco, occasionally brings unseasonably high temperatures and humidity.
Winters are mild, with the occasional short chilly period brought about by the north and north-easterly winds from Central Europe. Annual rainfall is low, averaging 578 mm a year, and the length of the dry season in summer is longer than in neighbouring Italy. Malta offers an excellent number of shoot hours per day, with 12 hours in summer, and 10 in winter.
The incentives are in the form of a cash grant given to eligible productions on the qualifying expenditure incurred in Malta. Productions which satisfy a cultural test can benefit from a rebate up to 25 per cent of eligible expenditure, plus an additional two per cent if the production features Malta culturally.
Feature film and television productions, mini-series, animation and documentaries are all eligible for the incentives, provided they are at least partially produced in Malta. Tax credits are computed as a percentage of either the value of capital investment or the value of wages for 24 months, covering new jobs created as a result of an investment project. Facilities for filming and audio-visual productions qualify for investment tax credits.
The qualifying enterprise must be engaged solely in eligible activities as established by the incentive guidelines which include:
The production (through scriptwriting, casting, shooting, directing and editing) of audio-visual productions, which includes: feature films, television films, advertisements and documentaries.
The operation and provision of facilities and equipment (such as film studios, audio-visual editing facilities and filming equipment) required in the production of feature films, television films, advertisements and documentaries.
The operation of a sound studio.
The development of digital audio-visual media and digital games.
A qualifying production is required to present an application to the Malta Film Commission, including a detailed projection of the Malta budget for the production and completion of the cultural test as included in the application form. Upon assessment based on specific guidelines and performance in the cultural test, the commission would grant provisional approval no later than three weeks after receipt of the application.
The final approval would be granted on review of a final application, including audited accounts and a detailed analysis of the production expenditure in Malta, after shooting is completed. The cash rebate is forwarded to a qualifying production no later than five months from the date of receipt of the final application.
The Government of Malta, under various legislations, offers filmmakers the possibility to produce and distribute productions from Malta and pay the lowest corporate tax rates in the European Union.
Investment aid for audiovisual facilities is also available under the Malta Enterprise Act. The aid is offered in the form of tax credits to a qualifying company in respect to an initial investment project in relation to qualifying expenditure. Value Added Tax stands at 18 per cent and is fully refundable to productions on all goods and services.
Foreign film productions shooting in Malta can also claim refunds in the following cases:
Input VAT incurred on property rental or hotel accommodation (bed & breakfast, half board or full board) with respect to all those persons, foreign or otherwise, directly engaged in the production of a foreign film, TV series, animation, commercial or documentary;
Input VAT incurred on fuel may be claimed back when consumed by vehicles, commercial or otherwise, used directly in connection with the production of a foreign film, TV series, animation, commercial or documentary;
Input VAT on the cost of taxis and car hire relative to the film production – excluding however VAT on purchase of non-commercial motor vehicles;
Input VAT on the cost of materials used for the purpose of the film production which would not be otherwise recoverable.
VAT refunds are affected within five months from the later of the expiration of the time allowed for furnishing the VAT return for the particular VAT period or from the day on which the said return is made.
To obtain co-production status, the work must involve at least three co-producers, established in three different parties to the convention. The participation of one or more co-producers who are not established in such parties is possible, provided that their total contribution does not exceed 30 per cent of the total cost of the production. Once these conditions have been fulfilled, the convention assimilates all co-productions, which have been given the prior approval of the competent authorities of the parties, with national films; i.e. they are entitled to the benefits granted to the latter.