An island country in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea became the ultimate location for film and TV-series producers all over the world for more than 50 years. the historical origins of the islands' popularity as a film and TV location lie in one word: Water.
In 1963, Jim Hole, a British special effects specialist, and Paul Avellino, a young Maltese construction manager, devised a plan to help directors to film safely on water. At Rinella, on Malta's eastern coast, they built Malta Film Facilities: a shallow-water tank, 300 feet wide and immune from the vagaries of tides and stormy weather. The tank blends seamlessly with a clear horizon, so directors can give audiences the illusion of action taking place miles out to sea, with no need for special effects.
The producers who were first drawn to Malta for the tanks swiftly noticed its other assets such as: the climate, the proximity to the major European cities, the landscape and the varied architecture of the settlements.
The Maltese authorities soon realized the potential of Film Tourism and they established the “Malta Film Commission” in 1999, under the auspices of the Ministry for Economic services. The purpose of the organization was raising awareness of Malta as a film location, serve to facilitate and assist film crews before and during their stay on the island.
Due to the high demand of Malta, Gozo and Comino islands as shooting locations, the country of Malta provides a wide range of film services such as: studios, actors and technicians. Malta Film Industry is also providing financial incentives to the producers, a rebate up to 27% of the total cost in co-marketing services. Considering the major benefits of film tourism, Malta's success is a case study as the film “Gladiator” alone was said to have pumped over $28 million into the local economy.
During these years, Malta has been visited by many Hollywood stars such as: Russell Crowe for the Gladiator, Brad Pitt for Troy and By the Sea, Rachel Weisz for Agora, Eric Bana for Munich, Colin Farell for Alexander, Tom Hanks for the Da Vinci Code and Captain Phillips.
The Oscar-award producers and director such as Steven Spielberg, Ridley Scott, James Cameron, Ron Howard, Alan Parker, Roman Polanski left their mark in Malta and captured parts of the country in their ever-lasting productions.
It goes without saying of course that the visitors of Malta have various choices in film location tours all over the country.
Malta, went much further than being the “Knights island” and became the Castle for the Knights of a fantasy world, the world of movies.