28 JAN 2022

Malta Film Week Day 5: An immersive journey into Malta's Film Studios

The Malta Film Commissioner Johann Grech kindly invited the international press to a tour at the Malta Film Studios and Fort Ricasoli.

28 JAN 2022

Johann Grech, Malta Film Commissioner

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On the final day of the Malta Film Week, the Malta Film Commissioner, Johann Grech, invited the international press to tour the Malta Film Studios and Fort Ricasoli. Celebrating 54 years of operation, the Malta Film Studios is one of the largest production facilities in the world. Having serviced over 200 feature films, television movies, documentaries & commercials, the facilities have an outstanding track record as a reliable and efficient production studio. "This is a base investment of 25 million in our facilities,” said Grech.

Malta Film Studios is renowned for its special effects water facility. It boasts one indoor tank and two large exterior water tanks situated along the coast, therefore, enjoying a natural horizon. They are amongst the largest in the world. “In 1964, we invested in our first tank water, which has an infinite horizon and is filled by seawater. The diameter in terms of length is 102 meters deep, and on this water tank, we can create the perfect storm in just seconds", described Grech.

The experienced team of craftsmen is competent and professional in their field, providing a high-quality service at all times. The studio’s vast range of water SFX equipment and experienced water SFX crew can operate any form of special effects required, making MFS world-renowned for water-based filming activities. The water tank facilities include wave machines, tip tanks, wind machines, rain towers, water shooters, and smoke machines.

The Malta Government supports the construction of a world-class film studio, and Malta will have the biggest water tank ever at the time. "It will be unique, and it will be the most challenging for the industry in the years to come," he said. "We are building the infrastructure that the industry needs. The industry is growing every day, creating jobs and opportunities, and I'm sure that we will build successful careers and sustainable industry in the future years," he concluded.

On the other hand, most of the fort Ricasoli is leased to the Malta Film Commission, and it has been used extensively as a location for various films and serials. In recent years, huge sets were built within its walls for the films "Gladiator" (2000), "Troy" (2004), and "Agora" (2009). In these films, the fort stood in Rome, Troy, and Alexandria, respectively. The fort was also used in the filming of "Assassin's Creed" (2016) and "Entebbe" (2018). The TV miniseries "Julius Caesar" (2002) and "Helen of Troy" (2003) were also partially filmed at Fort Ricasoli. A set dubbed as the Roman Road was built for Julius Caesar, and this has been retained and used for other films. Also, the first season of HBO's adaptation of George R. R. Martin's "Game of Thrones" used various parts of the fort to represent the Red Keep. “This site is rich in the history of filmmaking,” asserted Malta Film Commissioner.

In the following years, Malta will build the biggest European hub for the film and arts in Fort Ricasoli. "We will have a film school, sound studios for orchestras, talents, and singers. We want to create areas for special effects, to train people on those areas, and we want also keep these sets to last not just to be used for other productions but also to attract local and foreign tourists to our island."

Oscar-nominated director Roland Joffé delved into the tricks of the trade when directing a feature film. He stated that there is no perfect rule to be a director, and filmmakers have to abandon the concept of looking at the world or direct the world, and we have to pay attention to where we are. “We can build our careers with the fundamental base that life is confused and the elements are funny, the whole world is telling us different stories, and we have to find out what is the narratives of the actors, of the characters of the film.”

Regarding the narratives, Joffé advised, "don't tell actors how they have to feel in a scene, their emotions have to emerge naturally. Filmmakers have to work in different ways. I create real worlds for actors where they can express their emotions as in real life because they have their memories and memories allow them to play their characters naturally," he said. 

The Malta Film Week will culminate with the Malta Film Awards held on the 29th of January 2022 at the Mediterranean Conference Center. The show hosted by English actor and comedian David Walliams will be televised and streamed live on Television Malta and other international partners.

By Romina Rodríguez from Malta