Malta's rich heritage, architectural legacy and variety of locations ranging from harbours and forts, to castles and churches, contribute to a constantly developing film-servicing sector - one that is becoming increasingly known throughout the international film, TV, and commercials industry.
The island's proximity to Europe is also a bonus and contributes to the cost effectiveness of shooting on location in Malta. The warmth and hospitality of the people, the support services, the fact that English is widely spoken and the ideal climate have all been factors in making Malta a popular film destination over the past 50 years.
There is a readily available crew base, with no shortage of craftsmen and women who have helped construct some of the impressive sets such as ones used in Troy (2004), for which the production hired 500 locals.
Director Kenneth Branagh chose Malta as one of the international locations for his star-studded version of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express, which began filming in November 2016.
Paramount Pictures' 13 Hours: The Secret Soldiers of Benghazi (AKA The Tempest) directed by Michael Bay shot in and around Malta in 2015. Locations included: Mosta (where most of the filming took place) Valletta, Corradino and Manoel Island.
Another Paramount Pictures film World War Z (2013) starring Brad Pitt began its principal photography in Valletta, the capital city of Malta in the summer of 2011. According to reports at the time, production and buzz around it injected €30m into the Maltese economy.
The Whale - a one-off drama produced by the BBC for BBC One and Discovery - filmed in Malta in 2013 and used the gigantic water tank at Mediterranean Film Studios as well as locations in Gozo.The drama is about a famous ship that was attacked and sunk by a whale in the Pacific Ocean, and is one of history’s greatest stories of survival at sea.
Internationally acclaimed director Arev Manoukian used Malta as the location to shoot his short boxing film, The Maltese Fighter (2013), about a father and son relationship in the 1970s. And Paul Greengrass used Malta instead of the Indian Ocean for the feature film Captain Phillips (2013), starring Tom Hanks.
It’s not only films that have shot in Malta - The HBO hit TV series Game of Thrones (2011+) was partly filmed here, in the former capital of Mdina. The producers benefited from the walled medieval city to create King's Landing. Other locations used by the show were the forts of Manoel and Ricasoli; the Azure Window on the island of Gozo; and St. Dominic monastery.
The BBC documentary The Battle for Malta (2013) - produced by Maya Vision International and directed by BAFTA-nominated filmmaker Aaron Young, filmed in Malta, and captured the festivities of Independence Day and the preparation for the Malta International Air Show.
In 2011, the children’s television series Sinbad also shot on the island.
No general permits are required for location shooting, but filming in public areas requires consent from the relevant local council.
Filming activities in listed sites and protected environments require additional permits or approval from the Malta Environment & Planning Authority (MEPA), Heritage Malta or other relevant authorities.
For further information, contact the Malta Film Commission.
The commission reviews and administrates financial incentives to qualifying productions, and also serves to facilitate and assists film crews in every step of the production process.
Despite no large-scale soundstages currently available in Malta, the country does benefit from having one of the largest water tanks in the world: Mediterranean Film Studios (MFS). Making the most of its natural horizon to the sea, productions that have filmed there include U-571 (2000), and the BBC mini-series Blackbeard (2005)
For smaller scale productions, such as gameshows, Studio Seven does offer a sound stage and comprises five studios in total.
Other studios are available on the KFTV website
The 17 acre Fort Ricasoli - a large fortress used to guard the entrance to Malta's Grand Harbour, has been used as a backlot for several films, including Ridley Scott’s Gladiator (2000), Troy, starring Brad Pitt, and Spielberg’s Munich (2005). All used the fort to double up as a refugee camp. Familiar with the demands of a film, TV or commercial production, Fort Ricasoli offers production offices and workshop space.
Malta is well-known for its rocky beaches, but it’s also full of endless temples, castles, forts, and churches, which producers have used in films such as The Devil’s Double (2010), The Da Vinci Code (2006) and Alexander (2004).
To read our article about filming the Devil’s Double, which was predominantly filmed in Malta, click here.