Malta Ready for Close-ups as a Major International Photography Destination – The Hollywood Reporter

When Colin Trevorrow took to the stage to accept the Film Commissioner’s Award at the inaugural Malta Film Awards Saturday night in Valletta, he joked that when his new film Jurassic World: Dominion premieres next June, “all over the world, there will be kids who believe there are dinosaurs on this island.”

“Please, tell them it’s all true,” he added. “Let’s keep the magic of the movies and the magic in their imagination, because that’s part of what we do.”

Jurassic is one of dozens of international films and series to shoot in Malta over the past few years. And, for the first time, Malta isn’t like another country – part of the story is set there, a spot of local pride.

Trevorrow had participated in the Q&A the day before, and he was among a number of famous international talents to appear on stage or via video on Saturday at the cleverly choreographed awards ceremony, led by the comedian. organized by the British David Walliams. Collectively, they represent the ambition of the Malta Film Commission to transform the country, in the words of commissioner Johann Grech, into “a world-class film industry”.

Those plans include a hefty cash rebate, upgrades to existing studio facilities and new sound systems, the promise of more training and investment in local teams and, of course, advertising. promote the archipelago through events such as the Malta Film Awards, part of a week-long series of panels and presentations dubbed Malta Film Week.

At the awards ceremony, Harvey Keitel won a best actor logo for his performance in the 2021 Malta-US-Canada co-production. Blood on the crown, Executive producer by Roland Joffe. The film also won best director for Davide Ferrario and additional nods to the script, scores, hair and makeup, production design, and post-production. The other big winner of the night was The Boat (2018) UK and Maltese co-production, directed by renowned local film producer Winston Azzopardi, which won Best Picture and Best Cinematography.

Maltese films and series from the past 100 years have been eligible for the award, Grech said, meaning it may not be an annual event – at least not in its current form – although Malta Film Week will be like that, Grech said.

The awards are also undisputed: several local producers, including Malta supporters, nominees for the International Academy Awards, winners of the Sundance special jury award Luzzulaunched a boycott because of their high cost, according to The Age of Malta. “The investment in these awards going on tonight is also beautiful, I think investing in our native films is even more important,” said Boat star and co-writer/co-producer Joe Azzopardi. father at the awards ceremony.

“Malta Film Week, including the Malta Film Awards, has created a national debate about our industry, how can we grow it further, how can we go about it,” Grech said. how can we stay competitive, how can we create more jobs, how can we secure more funding – not just government, but government and business working together “.

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Malta specializes in marine cinematography and most international productions, such as the World War II drama “Das Boot”, come to the island for Malta Film Studios’ huge water SFX facility, home to three tank.

According to Grech, the industry has attracted dozens of international businesses to the archipelago, contributing more than $109 million (€98 million) over the past three years to the local economy and creating thousands of local jobs. direction.

A major factor is the increase in 2019 to Malta’s cash back scheme, which now offers an attractive 40% cashback on eligible local spending. The discount, payable upon completion of filming, requires a minimum spend in Malta of $111,489 (100,000 euros) on films with a budget over $222,979 (200,000 euros), not to exceed 80 % of total production cost.

“At one point last year, we had four pieces working at the same time in Malta,” says Grech. In 2019 and 2021, 22 films each were shot in Malta, which is the majority country. That number is half in 2020 due to the COVID shutdown.

One of them, in August 2020, is Jura, filmed on the streets of Valletta and starring over a thousand crew members and others. According to Winston Azzopardi, producer of the film’s local line through Latina Pictures’ Busy Outfits, “This is the first time we’ve seen dinosaurs in an urban environment. They are always in the woods and jungles. Now they’re on the streets with cars and shops and everything, which would make it pretty unique. ”

In addition to Trevorrow, other awards Saturday night include the Film Ambassador Award for Ridley Scott and the Motion Picture Industry Honor Award for Russell Crowe. The two who filmed the epic 2000 Fighter in Malta. On stage at the awards ceremony, Grech credited Scott with “putting the Maltese film industry on the global map.”

Scott will now bring Kitbags, his Napoleon project, to Malta for three weeks starting in May. In a video clip played during Saturday’s ceremony, Scott fondly recalled “where Rome was not built in a day but in fact in just over seven months.”

Scott revealed that Malta’s 17th-century Fort Ricasoli, voted for best location by the public at the Malta Film Awards, will double that of Toulon, Napoleon’s first winning site. The fortress was formerly used as a setting in Game of Thrones, Gladiator, Agora and Troy, among others.

Azzopardi, who will also act as a local line producer on Kitbagsadds that the film, which is currently in pre-production, will use the same storyline as Gladiator as well as double island locations for the South of France, Elba and Saint Helena.

In fact, thanks to its own unique history and strategic location in the middle of the Mediterranean, Malta is known for its double capacity for European, North African and Middle Eastern settings, and here it is. It is also home to backdrops reminiscent of a variety of historical periods.

“Innovatively, it works in a lot of places,” says Azzopardi. “Malta has doubled for Jerusalem many times, for countries in Africa, India, the Middle East. That’s the architecture we have. ”

Located just south of Sicily and with a population of around half a million people spread over three islands (Malta, Gozo and Comino), Malta’s tourism board claims 3,000 hours of sunshine a year, about 8.1 hours of sunlight. Daily light and daylight average annual temperatures around 73 degrees Fahrenheit. This allows for long, comfortable workdays, and the Mediterranean light has been praised for its cinematic sharpness. .

Malta is also very convenient: less than three hours by plane from most capital cities in mainland Europe, and English is one of its two official languages.

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The 4-week Malta shoot for Apple TV’s “Foundation” created more than 1,000 jobs for local crew members and part-timers.
Photos of Latina

Malta specializes in marine cinematography and most of the international production comes to the island for Malta Film Studios’ huge water SFX facility, which has three tanks, considered one of the largest in the world. Two outdoor pools end at sea and provide a natural horizon, and the facility also features a sports wave generator, tipping pool, wind generator, rain tower, water jet, and smoke generator.

AppleTV Series establish, which was filmed for four weeks in Malta last year, shot in a water tank for about 10 days then used other locations on the island, according to line producer Azzopardi. Grech said production cost $11 million (€10 million) on the island, creating more than 1,000 jobs for crew members and others.

Malta’s versatility is evident in the long list of other works that have found their way to the archipelago in recent years, such as the Sky One series Launch Das (Three seasons), Murder on the Orient Express (2017), 13 o’clock: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (2016), Assassin’s Creed (2016), World War Z (two thousand and thirteen), Captain Phillips (2013) and The Da Vinci code (2006), among others.

In an onsite interview for the Motion Picture Commission, John Krasinski talks about shooting 13 o’clock in Malta: “As a film where we duplicated Malta for another place, there was so much decoration and construction that needed to be done, and we were able to do it very well here.” He praised the island’s “range of places” and that the crew’s accommodation in Valletta was “beautiful, quiet, quaint, historic”.

What Malta is currently lacking is a stable sound. “I think once we have the sound stages, the work will increase, even though it’s been quite busy here,” Azzopardi said.

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo last year announced a $39 million (€35 million) investment to modernize Studio Malta. Upgrades – already underway – include Malta’s first three stereos, workshops, production offices, new equipment and technology.

Construction on the first negative layer, which will house a fourth water tank with a natural horizon, could begin later this year.

“The film industry is seen as a powerful driver of our economy,” says Grech. “By investing more in the domestic film industry, we continue to hone our skills and talents to continue serving more international productions. One side goes hand in hand with the other: service work and domestic production go hand in hand. ”

“We don’t just build structures,” Grech emphasizes. “We’re building an industry.”

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“Murder on the Orient Express” by Kenneth Branagh is one of the more popular recent works that make use of Malta’s historic sites.

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