The Malta Film Industry


Malta is a member of the European Convention on Cinematographic Co-production, which convention aims to promote the development of European multilateral cinematographic co-productions, to safeguard the creation and freedom of expression, while defending the cultural diversity of the various European countries. In order 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% of the total cost of the production. The co-produced work ought to meet the definition of a European cinematographic work.
Given these conditions are fulfilled, the Convention assimilates all co-productions, which have been given the prior approval of the competent authorities of the parties, with national films. Consequently, they are entitled to the benefits granted to the latter.
The Convention also tackles a number of issues including the minimum and maximum proportions of contributions from each co-producer; the right of each co-producer to co-ownership of the original, the picture and the sound; the general balance of investments and compulsory artistic and technical participation; the measures to be taken by the parties to facilitate the production and export of the cinematographic work and the right of each party to demand a final version of the cinematographic work in one of the languages of that party.
On 23 September 1997 representatives of the Government of Canada and the Republic of Malta signed an agreement on audiovisual co-productions. The agreement applies to all films produced by independent producers for exploitation in cinemas, on television, videocassette or by any other form of distribution, whether now known or to become known and irrespective of the film genre (feature film, animation or documentary), the length and the format.
Under Article 3(1) of the agreement, the proportion of the co-producers’ respective contributions to a co-produced film may vary between 20 % and 80 % of the final costs of the film. The technical and creative contributions should be in proportion to the investment. The producers, scriptwriters and film directors, as well as the technicians and other participating production personnel must be Canadian or Maltese citizens or persons permanently residing in either of the Contracting States. Any departure from this principle is subject to the joint approval of the competent authorities of both countries, namely the Minister of Canadian Heritage and the Maltese Minister of Education and National Culture.
Article 7 of the agreement stipulates that the original soundtrack of the film must be produced in English, French or Maltese. Dubbing or subtitling must be carried out either in Malta or Canada. Here, too, any exceptions are subject to the approval of the competent authorities of both countries.

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