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Malta

Malta Film & Photography Production Services

Are you a media company, brand, ad agency or production company looking for film / photography production support or shooting crew in Malta? We have fully vetted, locally based fixers, service producers, directors, DP’s, videographers, cameramen, photographers, sound operators, production drivers, and a range of other film crew. Contact us for referrals, questions, cost estimates and references.

Want to know more about shooting in Malta? See below for an introduction to Malta locations, permits, when to shoot, costs, talent, crews, fringes and premiums, equipment, art department, studios, post facilities, visas and work permits, film friendly hotels, transport, communications and safety advice.

Malta Film Locations

Malta is a small Mediterranean country located just south of Sicily. The archipelago has 3 inhabited islands including Malta, Gozo, and Comino. Its long history of occupation by the Romans, Moors, Knights of Saint John, French and British has left it a rich architectural history ranging from Neolithic temples to Baroque palaces. The landscape is lush and green in winter, and dry and barren in summer. The country has no permanent rivers or lakes.

Malta doubles well for a variety of past and present European and Middle Eastern looks. Filming for the ancient locations in Gladiator, Troy and Agora took place in Malta. Assassin’s Creed doubled Malta for 15th century Spain. Spielberg’s Munich shot Malta for 1970’s Cyprus, Greece, Israel, Italy, Lebanon, Palestine and Spain. Malta also hosted the HBO series Game Of Thrones.

Malta’s world-class Mediterranean Film Studios water tank facilities have serviced productions including Captain Phillips, White Squall, and U-571.

Locations of specific interest to visiting productions can be divided into the 3 main islands:

Malta

Valletta is the capital located on the main island of Malta. Locations of note in Valletta include St John’s Cathedral, Grand Master’s Palace, Grand Harbour, Fort Manoel, Fort St Angelo, Fort Ricasoli, National Library, Basilica of St Dominic, Manoel Theatre, the Lower & Upper Barrakka Gardens, and Fort Saint Elmo which doubled for Jerusalem in World War Z.

Outside of Valetta, Palazzo Parisio in Naxxar is known for its palatial interiors. Mdina is an ancient walled city and the former capital. San Anton Palace featured in Game Of Thrones. The Blue Grotto is an impressive cave system. Marsaxlokk is a picturesque fishing village famous for its traditional Maltese fishing boats. Also in Marsaxlokk is Fort Delimara which featured in Assassin’s Creed.

Comino

The paradise island of Comino is home to the Blue Lagoon which featured in The Count of Monte Cristo.

Gozo

The island of Gozo is known for the Azure Window, Inland Sea, and the Blue Hole (famous for underwater photography). The UNESCO World Heritage Site Megalithic Temples of Malta are also located on Gozo.

Malta Film Location Permits

Malta film location permits typically take from two days to one week depending on the nature of the shoot. Shooting in public areas is usually donation based. Permits for use of government property are obtained from the Estate Management Department. Filming at protected sites normally requires additional permits or approval from the Malta Environment and Planning Authority, Heritage Malta or other relevant authorities. Please contact us for location specific information.

When To Shoot?

Malta has a climate similar to Los Angeles with sunny weather and long daylight hours throughout the year. April to October are the best months to film for weather. June to September is hot and dry. This is also the peak tourist season. Winters from November to March are mild and rainy. For monthly weather statistics please see here.

Malta’s towns and villages hold festivals throughout the year. Most are based on the Catholic calendar. Carnival celebrations take place in Valletta each February with bands, parades, and masked balls.

Public holidays may affect timing, availability and costs. See here for public holiday dates in Malta.

Costs & Tax Incentives

Costs. Malta trades in the Euro. Local costs are around the same as the rest of Mediterranean Europe. The need to bring in some key crew and specialized equipment can add to the cost of the production. Our Maltese service producer / fixer will negotiate local deals and provide the appropriate level of production support to match every budget. See here for the current VAT rate.

Tax Incentives. Malta offers an uncapped 40% cash rebate incentive. Qualifying productions include feature films, TV series including pilots, creative documentaries, scripted & unscripted reality programmes, game shows, VFX & post-production (if done in Malta).

Film Crew & Talent

Crews. Malta has a small pool of local directors, directors of photography and stills photographers. Local crews are non-union. Supporting crew are good but depending on the shoot some key crew may need to be brought in from abroad. Malta’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those crews should you ever need to look further.

Given that Malta was for a time part of the British Empire, most Maltese people speak fluent English.

Contact us if you are looking for a director, DP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, or any other film crew for your shoot in Malta.

Talent is non-union and buyouts are negotiable. Talent in Malta is mainly Mediterranean looking with some blonde looks also available. Malta’s close proximity to major European production centres allows easy access to those pools of talent should you ever need to look further.

Fringes. Allow 14-20% mandatory social security tax for big construction crews. Allow 15% mandatory withholding tax for extras.

Premiums. Malta has an 11 hour shoot day plus 1 hour lunch. Typically Sunday, feast days and 7th day pay double time. That said, our Maltese producer / fixer will package deals depending on the specific needs of each project.

Malta Film Equipment

All standard camera, grip and lighting equipment is available locally include some underwater filming equipment. More specialised equipment may need to be brought in from abroad, which is an easy fix given there are several daily flights available from major European production centres. For productions looking to bring in film equipment, Malta is in the EU, and a member of the ATA carnet system.

Art Department, Studios, Backlots, & Post Production

Art department and set construction. Local art department support is good and construction crews are very good.

Studios. There are no sound stages in Malta. Warehouse space is often converted to construct sets for filming.

Malta is best known for its famous water tanks at the Mediterranean Film Studios which are amongst the largest in the world. The tanks are water stages where sets are built and shot with various facilities of tie-downs and platforms. Various SFX machinery is available to create storms, using smoke, wind and wave machines, tip-tanks, water cannons and a 500 mph jet engine. There are three main water tanks of unique size and depth:

The Shallow Tank is mainly for surface water filming and storm special effects. The overspilling effect when the tank is full creates a seamless natural horizon effect, eliminating the need for a false backdrop. There is also the facility of a gimbal or a rocker in this tank.

The Deep Tank is mainly used for underwater filming given its depth and water clarity. A special filtration system offers visibility down to 60 feet.

The Insert Tank offers great water clarity, a dry camera room, optional heating, and a removable roof. The tank can be filled with either fresh or salt water.

Malta Film Studios has a 4,000 sqm sound-stage.

    • Warehouse has also been converted into construction sets for filming.

Backlots. There are no backlots on studio grounds but there are a few constructions still remaining such as the Popeye village (now an amusement park) and a Roman street (left over from a Julius Caesar TV series, now left somewhat in disrepair). Fort Ricasoli is a 17 acre space where the huge sets of Gladiator, Troy and Agora, amongst others, were built. This fort lies just next to the Mediterranean Film Studios.

Post Production. Stargate Studios offer sophisticated post facilities.

Visas & Work Permits

Malta is a Schengen Area member state. Visiting US film crews can enter visa-free for a period of up to 90 days. Contact your local Maltese embassy / representative for more information.

Transport & Accommodation

Transportation Infrastructure is all up to known and expected world standards. The islands are small, so most locations are less than a 30min drive from each other. Regular ferries operate between main islands or for greater flexibility charters are readily available. Malta is connected well to the rest of Europe with major airlines and budget airlines servicing flights to Malta on a daily basis.

Accommodation. Malta has many great film-friendly accommodation options to fit any budget. Contact us for special Emerge Film Solutions rates at recommended hotels, villas and serviced apartments throughout Malta.

Final Notes

Safety. Malta is a very safe and reliable filming centre. See here for up to date travel advice.

Down Time. The Maltese are a hospitable bunch, with a relaxed, can-do attitude. After long days of filming there are plenty of impressive restaurants and fine local wines to sample (Malta has excellent local wine). If you have time, take a ferry out to the islands of Gozo or Comino.

Projects. For an example of TV commercials, stills campaigns, online content, corporate videos, virtual reality 360 content, feature films, TV series and documentaries shot in Malta, please see below:

Hire Malta Production Support & Shooting Crew

If you are looking for a film or photographic production service company, line producer or fixer for your shoot in Malta, please contact us.

If you are looking for a shooting crew for your shoot in Malta, such as a director, DoP, photographer, videographer (cameraman / camera operator), camera assistant (focus puller), sound operator, grip, gaffer, stylist, hair and makeup, PA / runner, production driver, please contact us.

We are able to provide you with answers, references and bids quickly.