When visitors come to Malta, they often remark that the island looks like a film set. Take the pretty alleys of Mdina for instance, or the grandeur of Valletta. With this in mind, it is no surprise that Malta has hosted hundreds of films in recent years, and has played a role in everything from BBC documentaries to Brad Pitt’s World War Z. Here, local production manager Colin Azzopardi, who works overseas on projects such as the award-winning Game of Thrones, tells us why Malta is such a special film location.
Why is Malta such a popular film location?
The island has a lot to offer: natural locations, water tanks, experienced crew at reasonable rates, and good auxiliary services such as top hotels and travel companies. Plus, it is well-connected, locals speak English, the weather is good and there are great fiscal incentives.
Why does it make sense for Malta to welcome so many films each year?
There are two main reasons and the first is money. Films and TV shows generate a lot of money for the island; not just in relation to local crew wages, location fees, hotels and so on, but indirectly, with each crew member spending their own money too.
Secondly, Malta gets great exposure from the industry. Every production brings hundreds of crew members from all over the world, each of whom will go away and talk about their time here. Bigger productions also generate a lot of interest in the international press, which also gives us great exposure.
There is no doubt why the Popeye Village Malta became a tourist attraction from its days as a film set of the 1980 musical Popeye.
What do film crews look for when they’re staying here?
Flexibility, comfort and convenience. The film industry is actually very unstable and things change very quickly, so the more local businesses understand that, then the better it is. Foreign crews are looking for a home away from home while they’re here, and it’s vital that we give them that. When we do, they really appreciate it!
The Radisson Blu Resort St Julian’s has a great relationship with the international film industry and regularly hosts crews and celebrities who are working on productions here. The Hotel also sponsors the 10th edition of Malta Short Film Festival in September 2018.