Written by: Dustin Chodorowicz, Partner at Nordicity
On 15 September 2023, I had the opportunity to participate in a media event organised by the Malta Film Commission (MFC) in Kalkara, Malta. The purpose of the event was to release the results of a recent study of the economic impact of film and TV production in Malta, which was prepared by Malta University Consulting.
At the media event, the Malta University Consulting Study presented their quantitative estimates of what this recent growth has meant for Malta’s economy in terms of jobs and gross value added (GVA), and the associated return on investment for the public money that Malta has invested in the industry. To provide further context to that quantitative analysis, I offered my own perspectives on how film and TV production generates economic benefits for countries around the world – particularly for small trading economies such as Malta – and thereby is a key sector of public investment around the world.
In particular, I discussed how film and TV production can be an important source of ‘exports’ for a small economy such as Malta, and how it generates (i) significant levels of employment, (ii) demand for a diverse set of skills, (iii) income and employment within local supply chains, (iv) career development opportunities for young people from all socioeconomic backgrounds, and (v) the creation of screen tourism assets that provide economic benefits well into the future.
I was invited to speak at the event as Nordicity, in collaboration with Saffery LLP, has for the last several years advised the MFC in its efforts to make Malta a leading global destination for film and TV production while also supporting the development of its local ecosystem of creators and crews.
Nordicity’s work with the MFC goes back to our involvement in the development of a long-term strategy for Malta’s film and TV sector – Vision 2030. In 2019, after the tax rebate was increased to 40%, we worked alongside Saffery LLP to develop this strategy, which was based on international research and consultations with over 200 organisations and individuals in Malta’s film and TV sector. This early work focused on the holistic gathering of views from all parts of the sector (inbound film/HETV, domestic broadcast, film as art, film as culture and tourism, as well as skills development). Nordicity and Saffery LLP also advised MFC, as it worked with the Maltese government, to adjust Malta’s cash rebate scheme for film and TV production to make Malta an even more competitive destination for film and TV production.
The MFC ultimately went forward with changes to its cash rebate scheme. Those changes have led to unprecedented growth in Malta’s film and TV production sector in recent years. According to the MFC, the annual levels of production spending in Malta rose from under €40 million in 2019 to €85 million in 2022. And before the Hollywood actors’ and writers’ strikes, it was on course to break to surpass the €100 million mark in 2023.
With these wide-ranging economic benefits, a basic industry such as film and TV production is even more vital for a small island economy such as Malta. This is something important to keep in mind, particularly as Malta and other countries strive to shift their economic focus to knowledge-based, greener sustainable export industries to support job creation, higher incomes, and ultimately higher standards of living for their populations.
Outside of the media event, it was really interesting to hear how following the recent all-year round production occurring in Malta, the conversation was all about increasing the number of local workers and production services. All of this bodes well for a sector looking to become sustainable in the longer term and maximising domestic impact and opportunities.