The scenic beauty of a place can be measured by many factors, like the number of tourists or international acclamation. However, another factor can also be that the place is preferred by producers and filmmakers from across the world for the film shoot. Malta has been blessed with the scenic beauty which doesn’t fail to mesmerize anyone. Perhaps, this is the reason why major Hollywood projects have been shot here.
One of the biggest names in this list is the popular television show ‘Game of Thrones’. A large part of the show has been shot on various locations in Malta and Gozo. These places are today popular tourist locations. The architectural and historical heritage of Malta gives it a distinct look and feel which makes it an appropriate location for historical and fantasy genre films.
Clash of the Titans, Gladiator, Munich, The Devil’s Double, are among some of the most prominent movies that have been shot in Malta. The island-country has also been a favourite of some Bollywood filmmakers for a long time. However, the trend is now picking up. In a recent development, one of the biggest production houses in India, Yash Raj Films, have chosen Malta for the shoot of their multi-starrer blockbuster – Thugs of Hindostan.
The movie’s star cast includes stalwarts like Amitabh Bachchan, Aamir Khan and Katrina Kaif. The exact location of the shoot has been kept a well-guarded secret but the Maltese and Indian crew have been working hard on building the sets which will depict some real-life incidents that took place prior to India’s Independence in 1947.
Maltese economy and tourism are sure to get a boost because of these internationally-acclaimed movies and television shows being shot here. Several travel communities have now come up with an organized tour of these locations creating new job and income opportunities for a large number of people. One such community – Viator – organizes day-long tours of the Game of Thrones filming locations in Malta which along with some behind-the-scenes gossip from the guides.
The Maltese government had long back initiated measures to also develop a movie industry in Malta instead of only promoting as a filming location. With this aim in mind, the Malta Film Commission was established and incentives were offered to invest in the sector. Steps were also taken to invite bigger and better names to shoot in the country. One of the major achievements was when Steven Spielberg chose Malta for ‘Munich’.
Looking at the surge in the amount of investment coming from outside in Malta, the Tourism Industry drafted a 32-page policy setting up a vision until 2020. After the new government was sworn-in, because of the efforts of Tourism Ministry, the amount of investments grew manifold within a short span of time. The investment by foreign productions in Malta increased from €5 million in 2013 to €29 million in 2014. From there, it reached a whopping €100 million in 2015.
The current Maltese government has been working extensively to develop necessary infrastructure in order to attract more production houses to invest in Malta. “This expression of interest will eventually help us to continue building positive momentum on this front. The potential benefit for our economy is vast and we need to ensure we have the structures and infrastructure in place to exploit each and every opportunity that comes our way in this highly dynamic industry,” Edward Zammit Lewis – the then Tourism Minister of Malta – wrote in TOM in 2016.
After Konrad Mizzi took over, he continued the efforts in the same direction. Looking at the recent growth since 2012, bigger names coming to Malta, and the government’s efforts, it can be predicted that film industry in Malta will continue to grow at a rapid pace bringing in more opportunities in the future.