Reference is made to the article ‘Film producers call for immediate resignation of commissioner’ (February 26).
I noticed my company appears on ‘the list’ of a ‘select few’. As it happens, the amount of film work PCP (Producer’s Creative Partnership) received directly or indirectly through the Malta Film Commission (MFC) since 2013 has been exactly zero.
Nevertheless, despite my not being disadvantaged by the ‘list’, I strongly feel a webpage of service providers must be put back online immediately.
A film commission’s role is to promote the Maltese islands abroad, to facilitate with local red tape and advise government on policy-making. Essentially, a film commission exists to serve the local stakeholders.
Therefore, foreign producers must be given a full list of all bona fide service providers. One of the strict ethical principles of every commission is never to show any preference towards any bona fide service provider, not verbally nor in writing and neither by sign language!
But it seems in Malta all ethical rules can be broken, regardless of who is in government.
For example, back in 2011, the new film commissioner decided that the service providers were working “too regularly” and that certain inexperienced people should become qualified service providers immediately.
Instead of encouraging them to join as junior/trainee producers, he arrogantly chose to remove the webpage containing the list of all established stakeholders. Instead, he decided to tell foreign producers verbally who he thought was fit for use, much like a third world country would behave.
It seems in Malta all ethical rules can be broken, regardless of who is in government
The discriminated stakeholders spent a lot of time and energy complaining about the commissioner to the deaf ears of then minister Tonio Fenech.
The list was only re-published on-line when the stakeholders finally managed to meet up with former prime minister Lawrence Gonzi.
This sort of behaviour is sadly emblematic of many public officials who forget what it means to be a public servant and, furthermore, a member of the EU.
The commission should never be running the Rinella film tanks. Despite some willing people involved, over four decades, the government has proven itself to never be capable of successfully running a film studio (or any business for that matter) and definitely not on par with foreign first- world studios.
The other problem lies with the fact that the film commission is in a conflict of interest when running such a commercial operation while representing other similar stakeholders and also managing the cash rebate at the same time. The film commission should be at arm’s length from the administration of the cash rebate scheme in order to remove all opportunities for the slightest abuse.
The fact that the public tender issued for the sale of the film studio was ridiculous to start off with might explain why the film studio has not yet been privatised and sheds light on the true intentions of the government going along with the snatch-back of the land from the previous owner.
In all honesty, the team at the Malta Film Commission have always been extremely cordial and willing with all my inquiries but, with the same token of honesty, I must say that the Malta Film Commission is in need of serious restructuring for the reasons given above.
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