Film Industry in Malta

The film industry in Malta has been active for almost a century and has now become an established and reputable film-making destination.

The Industry

  • Malta has been described by both The Times of London and CNN as the ‘Mediterranean’s mini Hollywood';
  • Over the past three years, Malta has witnessed a dramatic increase in the number of productions shooting on our shores. Expenditure by foreign productions has risen from €5 million in 2013 to €10 million in 2015;
  • Blockbuster films with Oscar nomination and award winning success such as The Da Vinci Code, Gladiator, Alexander, and Munich have been shot in Malta;
  • This sharp boost in the industry’s fortunes has led the Government to announce a National Film Policy that addresses important issues related to financial incentives for both the production and distribution of audio visual products.

Key features

  • Malta’s renowned water-tank filming facilities have been a key infrastructural asset for the past 50 years. However, these are gradually being superseded by major technological advances;
  • Malta is particularly appreciated for its unique and stunning exterior locations and extremely favourable weather conditions;
  • To further develop Malta as a filming destination, Government has announced incentives intended to attract major film producers to Malta, and to transform Malta into a competitive film destination internationally;
  • Government has established the Malta Film Commission (MFC) to promote, develop and support the local film industry.

Fiscal Incentives

Legislation is in place which offers film makers the possibility of producing and distributing audio visual productions from
Malta, making use of a tax refundable mechanism which significantly reduces the effective tax paid in Malta.

Investment tax credits

  • The Investment Aid Regulations Act offers tax credits with regards to the development and production of audio visuals projects (feature films, television films, advertisements and documentaries) as well as the operation of facilities and equipment required in the production of such projects (film studios, audio-visual editing facilities and filming equipment for visual productions);

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.

Effective VAT system

  • Malta boasts an effective VAT system with effi€cient reimbursement timeframes;
  • Foreign film productions shooting in Malta can also claim refunds in the following cases:
  1. Input VAT incurred on property rental or hotel accommodation, fuel, taxis, cost of materials;
  2. VAT refunds are effected 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 submitted.

Cash Rebates

  • Financial Incentives for Audio-visual Industry Regulations provide production companies with a cash rebate of 25%, with an additional 2% if the film features and promotes Maltese cultural elements;
  • Feature films, TV productions, mini-series, animations and documentaries are eligible, provided they are partially produced in Malta;
  • The rebate is given once filming is complete and upon receipt of the audited accounts by the Commissioner. The cash rebate is forwarded to the qualifying production by no later than five months from the date of receipt of the presented production expenditure in Malta.
  • The rebate for below-the-line productions is not capped, whereas for above-the-line it is capped at a max of €200,000. For di€fficult co-productions this could rise to 32% of expenditure. 

The Co-production treaties and co-production fund

  • Malta has co-production treaties with China and Canada, and has been a member of the European Convention on Cinematographic co-productions since 2001;
  • The aim of the Convention is to promote the development of European multilateral cinematographic co-production and the cultural diversity of the various European countries;
  • Malta Film Finance Ltd has made the Co-Production Fund a reality. The latter aims at encouraging local producers to partner with foreign companies to produce films for the international market and to share the risk and cost of screen productions.

Benefits of using Malta as a film location 

  • Widespread use of the English language;
  • Mild climate with year-round good weather;
  • Scenic landscapes;
  • Short travelling times between locations;
  • Very high level of safety and security;
  • Extensive supply of film extras.

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