Cost of Malta Film Awards remains secret as government denies freedom of information request


The Malta Film Commission has refused an access to information request filed by Malta Independent to determine how much money has been spent on the extravagant Malta Film Awards.

In the reason provided for FOI’s denial, the Commission said the documents are still being compiled – the same rationale film industry officials used when asked by reporters about the event at the over the past few weeks.

“The requested documents are still being compiled. Total expenditure and cost breakdown will be released once all invoices have been compiled,” the Commission said in its denial note.

This editorial team had asked what the initial budget for the event was set for, for the total expenditure of the State relating to this evening, the distribution of these expenditures by item, to whom they were paid, and by what method of payment. procurement (direct order/negotiated procedure/tendering, etc.) that each item has been acquired.

The Film Commission did not use the ability to extend the time to provide responses to 40 business days, as government entities tend to do to extend the wait for documents, choosing simply to reject the request outright. .

The Malta Film Awards took place on January 29 this year to much fanfare, but the extravagance of the event raised questions from both filmmakers, some of whom even boycotted the event in protest at its cost per compared to the annual budget allocated to help the local film industry. , and in the political sphere.

The freedom of information request was filed last month after film commissioner Johann Grech and tourism minister Clayton Bartolo, who has political remit for the industry, spent weeks dodging questions from journalists and members of Parliament on the cost of the event.

The gala was reportedly well over budget by €400,000 – already a source of irritation for those in the film industry who noted that Malta’s annual film fund only had a budget of €600,000 .

Industry insiders have estimated the true cost of the event, which saw British comedian David Walliams brought in to host and saw a massive PR campaign to encourage a rise in viewership, be finished 1 million and even closer to 2 millions.

Malta weather had a similar FOI rejected a few days ago, while the Daphne Caruana Galizia Foundation had a FOI asking how much David Walliams was paid to host the event also refused.


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