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Malta Malta About Malta Where is Malta located? The island of Malta is a small independent nation state in the centre of the Mediterranean, just 93 km South of Sicily (Italy) in Southern Europe. Malta is an island nation that consists of three islands: main island Malta, Gozo and Comino. The country’s official languages are Maltese and English. Malta’s capital city is Valletta, which is centrally located on the island’s North coast and has the island’s largest harbour. The main island of Malta is the largest and most developed island. Its sister-island of Gozo is idyllic and peaceful and mostly rural, offering breathtaking views and great… Read more
Malta

Malta

About Malta

Where is Malta located? The island of Malta is a small independent nation state in the centre of the Mediterranean, just 93 km South of Sicily (Italy) in Southern Europe. Malta is an island nation that consists of three islands: main island Malta, Gozo and Comino. The country’s official languages are Maltese and English. Malta’s capital city is Valletta, which is centrally located on the island’s North coast and has the island’s largest harbour.

The main island of Malta is the largest and most developed island. Its sister-island of Gozo is idyllic and peaceful and mostly rural, offering breathtaking views and great opportunities for outdoor activities, such has hiking, biking and rock climbing. Comino is the smallest island of the three and is inhabited by only a few people. The island hosts a hotel renowned for its hospitality and facilities to spend relaxing holidays in Malta and is the location for one of Malta’s most beautiful bays: the Blue Lagoon.

The size of Malta’s population is roughly 400,000 whilst its geographical size is limited to around 316 square kilometres and as a result, Malta ranks highly on the list of most densely populated countries in the world. The leading religion in Malta is Roman Catholicism, followed by the vast majority of the population.

History of Malta and Birth of a Republic. Malta has a rich history, as a result of numerous foreign rulers who greatly valued the strategic geographical location the islands offered for trade and warfare. The nation is home to the oldest free-standing structure in the world: The oldest of all megalithic temples is il-Ggantija in Gozo, dating back to 3500 BC. Malta was held by several foreign rulers, including the Romans, Phoenicians, Byzantines, Arabs and more recently the French (under Napoleon) and British. Malta gained independence from the British empire in 1964, becoming an independent republic, though continuing to be part of the British Commonwealth. The country has been a member of the European Union since May 2004 and is the smallest EU state both in population and geographical size. (guidetomalta.net)

Great Britain formally acquired possession of Malta in 1814. The island staunchly supported the UK through both World Wars and remained in the Commonwealth when it became independent in 1964. A decade later Malta became a republic. Since about the mid-1980s, the island has become a freight transshipment point, financial center, and tourist destination. It is an official candidate for EU membership.

History of Cinema Malta

While Malta today is well known to international movie producers and directors as an ideal site for location filming, ambitions are that the island will develop a fully-fledged film industry of its own. A number of high profile and high earning movies, including Ridley Scott’s Gladiator and The Count of Monte Cristo, have been shot in Malta over the last few years, and these successes have fuelled the Malta Film Commission’s drive to offer greater incentives to outside studios, as well as to encourage the development of the nascent local industry.

The film industry in Malta began in the early fifties, when, in 1953, the first pioneering British director came to the island to shoot a few scenes for a low budget production. The film, “Single Handed”, with a script that was naturally dove-tailed for the local scene.

“Treasure in Malta”, a family film in which a Maltese child was the protagonist, marshalled what may be called the dawn of the film industry in Malta. The film was perhaps the first in Technicolor located in Malta. The island’s mysterious neolithic temples edging the ramparts of old mediaeval castles added to the thrills of fast moving adventures in a good story. It was an excellent advertisement even for the Maltese supporting actors all of whom were making their debut in the film world.


Gagga (1971), Maltese film: being the first feature film made in with a script entirely in Maltese.

The prospects of a local film industry soon became the subject of a study and in 1964, the British special-effects wizard Jim Hole, of Trading Post, set up shop in Malta creating the Malta Film Facilities, a new service company to the international film industry which then boasted the unique Surface Tank near the sea. For the film “Raise The Titanic” another tank was to be built in 1979, a deep-water giant hole, which is the only construction of it’s kind in the world. As the popularity of MFS continued to increase so did its SFX machinery and facilities, with yet another Indoor Tank being built in 1996 for the award winning ’Levi’s’ commercial.

For thirty years Mediterranean Film Studios was a parastatal company until 1995 when it was acquired by Catalyst Entertainment Inc. (Canada) and the Britt Allcroft Company PLC (UK). In 1999 entrepreneur Jost Merten bought the majority of shares with a commitment to making MFS the world’s leading marine facility and a Full-Service-Studio.

The water tank at Rinella was built, offering producers and directors the possibility of shooting water scenes in a controlled environment with an unlimited backdrop of open sea afforded by the unique location of the tank, practically on the edge of the seashore. The ingenious design of the surface water tank with its natural horizon enables the water, sky and horizon to appear seamless. The Malta Film Studios also offer SFX machinery including wind and wave machines, tip tanks, water cannons, smoke machines and a 500 mph jet engine practically bringing the forces of nature under the directors control


Midnight Express (1978), filming in Malta

Since then film production in Malta has centred mainly around films that involved the use of the water tank. Productions included Orca, Popeye, Raise the Titanic, Roman Polanski’s Pirates, Cutthroat Island and U-571. The recent filming of the blockbuster Gladiator constituted a major breakthrough for film production in Malta. The film was the first major production to be shot in Malta for many years that did not involve the use of the tank. The set, recreating ancient Rome and particularly the Colosseum, was built inside an historic fort, with computer imagery doing the rest.

The shooting of Gladiator was quickly followed by The Count of Monte Cristo, starring Hollywood heartthrob Leonard Di Caprio and was an encouraging sign that the hard work put in by the studio promoters was bearing fruit. These successes have spurred the Malta Film Commission to put forward proposals to make film production in Malta even more attractive. In fact the industry has now been included in the list of activities that qualify for benefits under the revamped Business Promotion Act. Incentives offered under the Business Promotion Act seek to attract the building of soundstages, investment in the water tanks and the provision of audiovisual equipment and varied production services. (filmbirth.com)


Popeye (1980), complete filming in Malta

By meeting these requirements, Malta hopes to increase its chances of attracting more foreign production companies at a constant pace, rather than being dependant on a current trend of films to which its natural environs are suited. For the coming years, the Malta Film Commission plans to continue focusing its main marketing activity on European and US studios, independent producers and production companies managing or producing financed low to medium-budget feature films and television projects with budgets of up to and around US$ 40 million. Such productions are essential for Malta because they would guarantee a constant flow of work throughout the year. This year, for example, Malta attracted and hosted six television productions – ‘Julius Caesar’, ‘The Death of Klinghoffer’, ‘Dinotopia’ ‘Daniel Deronda’, ‘Helen of Troy’ and ‘The Gladiator Hero’ – which spent an overall 34 weeks of shooting in Malta and another 20 weeks of pre-production.

Hollywood may be more than seven thousand miles away, but the Film Commission’s view is that with a regular stream of projects, a stable film industry could eventually stimulate more domestic productions or depictions of Malta itself, rather than just its appearance as a backdrop. Serious investment in this industry, in the form of fiscal incentives, infrastructure and human resources training are all playing their part in this drive to consolidate an industry just beginning to experience a taste of its full potential. In 2001 the first full Maltese feature film was screened, “Genesis” by Kenneth Scicluna. Another Maltese born director, Mario Azzopardi, is making a name for himself in the Canadian film industry. He in an interview called the Maltese film industry, a service industry which is probably an accurate description of its current state.


Daqqet ix-Xita (2010), Maltese short film


Genesis (2001), Maltese film

Maltese film directors

(selection)


Kenneth Scicluna


Mario Azzopardi


Cecil Satariano

List of Maltese Films

- .303 (2009)
- Against All Odds: The Quest for Malta (2004) (TV)
- Angli: The Movie (2005)
- The Balance (2010/I)
- Blind Date (2004)
- Blood Will Have Blood (2010)
- Bottle Neck Love (2006)
- Cadavere (2009)
- Daqqet ix-Xita (2010)
- Duels and Duets (2005)
- Etnika: In Search of Our Lost Voice (2004)
- The Fatal Lead (2006)
- Gagga (1971)
- Genesis (2001)
- A Gentleman from Malta (1997) (TV)
- Ghanja lill-Omm 2006 (2006) (TV)
- A Gozitan Tale (1997) (TV)
- Heroes in the Sky (2007)
- In the End (2009)
- Il-Hajja (2009)
- Il-Messija (2009) (Cinema)
- Ir-ragel li jaghmel is-shab (2008)
- The Isle (2004)
- Katarin (1977)
- Kont Diga (2009)
- Laat me maar (1997)
- Malta George Cross (2005)
- Malta Force (2010)
- Mera tal-Passat (2004)
- Maltageddon (2009)
- Maltaforce cinema (2010)
- On n’a qu’une vie (2000)
- One Fine Day (1997)
- Pawlu ta’ Tarsu (2008)
- A Pinch of Salt (2003)
- A Previous Engagement (2005)
- Profile of a Director (1998)
- Qerq (2007)
- Santa Monika (2009)
- Tempus Fugit (2006)
- The Darkness We Know (2009)
- Unlucky String (2006)
- Vaganza f` hal baras
- The War Within (2008)
- Waves of Life (2008)
- Weird Sisters (2007)

List of films set/location in Malta

Well-known films such as Midnight Express and Popeye were also shot in Malta, and more recently, Munich and The Devil’s Double, but industry insiders will know it from the countless other movies, TV series and commercials that have used the islands as a back-drop. Film directors Lee Tamahori, Steven Spielberg, Ron Howard, Ridley Scott, Alan Parker, John Glen, Robert Altman, Renny Harlin, Roman Polanski and Alejandro Amenábar as well as producers Dino de Laurentiis, Lord Puttman and Branko Lustig have all filmed in Malta over the years.

- Asterix and Obelix (2011)
- The Emden Men (2011)
- Khadalikkum Neram Idhu (2010)
- Koni (2010)
- Wickie auf großer Fahrt (2010)
- The Fisherman (2010)
- The Devil’s Double (2010)
- The Last Meeting (2009)
- Gulfstream Under the Iceberg (2009)
- Vinnai Thankdi Varuvaya (2009)
- The Darkness We Know (2008)
- Wickie und die starken Männer (2008)
- Agora (2008)
- Anakop (2008)
- Terra Nova (2008)
- U-900 (2007)
- Man of East (2007)
- Largo Winch (2007)
- Templeriddernes Skat III (2007)
- Eichmann (2007)
- The Da Vinci Code (2005)
- Adrift (2005)
- Munich (2005)
- A Previous Engagement (2004)
- Troy (2003)
- A Different Loyalty (2003)
- The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen (2002)
- Pinocchio (2002)
- Swept Away (2002)
- The Count of Monte Cristo (2000)
- The Emperor’s New Clothes (2000)
- Astérix & Obélix: au service de Cléopatre (2000)
- Revelation (2000)
- Gladiator (1999)
- U-571(1999)
- Jesus (1998)
- Wo bist du (1998)
- The Goddess of Malta (1996)
- White Squall (1995)
- Cutthroat Island (1994)
- Casque Bleu (1993)
- The Voyage (1992)
- Christopher Colombus – The Discovery (1992)
- The Mountain of Diamonds (1991)
- The Burning Shore (1990)
- Killer Cruise (1990)
- Erik the Viking (1989)
- Scheherazade (1989)
- Leviathan (1988)
- Freedom (1988)
- Sign of Four (1987)
- Black Eagle (1987)
- Crash (1986)
- Inside Story (1986)
- The Fifth Missile (1986)
- Among Wolves (1985)
- Iron Warrior (1985)
- Story Book (1985)
- Riviera (1985)
- Pirates (1984)
- Final Justice (1984)
- Snowman (1984)
- Trenchcoat (1983)
- Samraat (1982)
- Airline (1982)
- Raise the Titanic (1980)
- Testament to Youth (1980)
- Popeye (1979)
- Clash of the Titans (1978)
- Force Ten from Navarone (1978)
- Midnight Express (1977)
- Charas (1977)
- The Spy Who Loved Me (1977)
- Orca The Killer Whale (1976)
- Warlords of Atlantis (1976)
- Shout at the Devil (1975)
- Sinbad in the Eye of the Tiger (1975)
- The Mackintosh Man (1974)
- Children of Rage (1974)
- Sea Wolf (1974)
- Pulp (1972)
- Mrs Pepperpot (1972)
- Zeppelin (1971)
- Birds on the Wing (1971)
- L’Invenzione di Morrell (1971)
- Murphy’s War (1970)
- Adventures of Gerrard (1970)
- Paul Temple (1970)
- David Copperfield (1969)
- The Oxbone Buccanneers (1969)
- Mr Jerico (1969)
- Hellboats (1968)
- Hieronymus Merkin (1968)
- Man on a Lonely Island 1968)
- A Twist of Sand (1968)
- Eyewitness (1967)
- Casino Royale (1966)
- The Bedford Incident (1965)
- Trouble Shooters (1965)
- The Spies (1964)
- Mask of Janus (1964)
- Single Handed aka Sailor of the King (1953)
- Message from Malta (1953)
- Tell England aka The Battle of Gallipoli (1931)

Trailer Maltese films

Malta Force
Qerq
Daqqet ix-Xita
Gagga

Links / More information

Get Lost Article: Malta
Malta Film Commission

List of Maltese films on Mubi

Daqqet ix-Xita (2010)
Gagga (1971)
Genesis (2001)
Maltageddon (2009)
Qerq (2007)
The Isle (2004)


List of films: set/filming in Malta or Maltese films on Mubi (by year)

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