A second edition of the Mediterrane Film Festival will be held later this year, Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo said on Saturday. 

His comments come hot on the heels of revelations that British comedian and author David Walliams was paid a whopping €120,000 to host another local event, the Malta Film Awards, in January 2022. 

The Mediterrane Film Festival, which Walliams also hosted for an as-yet undisclosed fee, saw actors and producers flown to Malta and treated to a black-tie gala film awards event at Fort Manoel. Top industry insiders told Times of Malta that the extravagant event cost taxpayers more than a million euros. 

Earlier this week, Bartolo said the financial details of last year's Mediterrane Film Festival will be published “in the coming days”. 

Bartolo told radio show host Andrew Azzopardi on RTK 103 that another Mediterrane Film Festival will take place later this year and more details will be released in due course. 

On Friday the Mediterrane Film Festival Facebook page was updated with a new cover image and details, announcing that this year's festival will take place between 22 and 30 June. 

Walliams' fee did not include expenses

Bartolo once again stood by the decision to pay Walliams €120,000 for his Malta Film Awards gig, saying that the comedian helped boost the Maltese film industry.

The minister also indicated that, apart from his fee, Maltese taxpayers also paid for all of Walliams' expenses. 

There was a separate budget exclusively for his costs, the minister said. 

The comedian’s paycheck was only revealed after a two-year legal battle that ended last month after a judge ordered the Malta Film Commission to reveal how much it paid him. 

Bartolo argued that the government was bound by a confidentiality clause in its deal with Walliams, who was reportedly “not pleased” that his hosting fee was made public. 

He said bringing big blockbusters and producing such festivals brings more money that is being spent. 

Will Mr Bean host the next festival? 

When asked if another €120,000 will be spent on a new presenter for the festival, Bartolo replied:

“We will spend what is needed. The industry is growing.”

When asked to ensure the next host was “someone better than Walliams”, Bartolo asked Azzopardi if he approved of British actor Rowan Atkinson, best known for his roles as Mr Bean and Johnny English. 

Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo hints at a Rowen Atkinson-led festival.

“Much better, yes he is much better,” Azzopardi replied.

Bartolo grinned and nodded. 

"But I still wouldn't give him (Atkinson) €120,000, let's be clear," Azzopardi replied. "Double the wage of our Prime Minister, come on..."

According to reports, Atkinson is set to commence filming the fourth instalment of Johnny English in Malta and the UK in June. 

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