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One Single Malta, Please

Indian filmmakers are rediscovering the benefits of shooting in the small island nation of Malta 

The first film in which Malta was featured was a silent film titled Sons Of The Sea (1939), and since then, the island nation has featured in more than 100 films.

Traditionally, Malta has not been a familiar destination for Indian filmmakers. In the ’70s and ’80s, films like Charas and Samraat were partly shot there. And, now, Aamir Khan-starrer Thugs Of Hindostan and Salman Khan’s Bharat have been filmed in this Mediterranean archipelago. Also, crucial portions of the worldwide phenomenon, Game Of Throne’s first season were shot in various locations in Malta.

Climate

One of the best things about Malta is that it does not have extreme temperatures. Summer is warm and dry, with the highest temperature in July hovering around 30°C. During winter, the temperature drops to 15°C, making January the coldest month. Also, the island does not have much rainfall during the year, except in November and December.

The most peaceful time to film in Malta is between February and June, with a fewer tourists and a pleasant climate. Malta is also less expensive during this time of the year. May is the perfect month to film in the beautiful countryside. However, for filming in a cooler environment, October is the most suitable month, again with quite a lower tourist ratio. The countryside is lush and green in winter, and dry and barren in summer.

Location

Surrounded by the serene waters of the Mediterranean Sea, Malta is an island with an old and rich cultural heritage, which is reflected by its artistic attractions. Besides the magnificent rocky arches of the coast and pristine beaches, you will also find prehistoric temples, military architecture, fossil-studded cliffs and hidden coves, a wide range of destinations to explore for cinema.

One of the most preferred locations for filmmakers in Malta is the capital city Valletta, founded in 1565, which is a beautiful glimpse of the rich heritage of the city. It is well-known for its wide range of gardens, and marvellous Churches and museums.

Apart from this, there is also The Grandmaster’s Palace, adorned with tapestries and fresco paintings. Another place is the ancient city of Mdina whose history can be traced back to over 4,000 years. The city has great locations with beautiful palaces and ancient architecture. Other than these, there is a Grand Harbour, the sea port; and sister islands of Gozo and Comino.

Cash Rebate

  • Filmmakers are eligible for up to 25 per cent of cash rebate depending on the expenditure occurred
  • Minimum expenditure must be about $ 1.18 lakh
  • There is an additional benefit of a 2-per cent rebate, if Malta culture is featured in the film
  • A provisional application is required to be presented to the Malta Film Commission, with a detailed projection of the Malta budget
  • After the filming is complete, the rebate is forwarded within five months of the date of receipt of the presented production expenditure in Malta

Tax Credit

  • Investment aid for audio-visual facilities is available under the Malta Enterprise Act
  • The aid is offered in the form of tax credits based on the initial investment and qualifying expenditure
  • 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

Undertakings engaged in the broadcasting of audio-visual content to live audiences though any media channels and/or engaged in programming and broadcasting activities are not considered eligible.

Permits

  • General permits are not required for location shooting, but for the use of government property, permits are required to be obtained from the Government Property Division
  • Filming in areas such as palaces, forts, towers, beaches and other sites would require additional permits or approval from the Planning Authority and Heritage Malta
  • For using private properties, it is advisable to have a contract signed with all terms and conditions between the film company and the owners
  • For using religious locations all legal arrangements and negotiations should be made directly with a parochial church council or cathedral chapter 
  • For closing off the roads or beaches for a shoot, the approvals from Transport Authority, Police Department, and the Local Councils is are required
  • Full cooperation of the local police is needed to film on public roads or use special effects, explosives or firearms.

Visas

  • Invitation letter is required consisting of details of the events or activities, purpose of visit and expense coverage
  • Names and details of the crew members are required
  • Details of the duration of stay in Malta are required
  • Travel itinerary

 

- Bhavi Gathani

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