Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo has again failed to disclose the cost of the Malta Film Awards, saying he is “not speculating on numbers”.
A number of major local film producers boycotted the January 29 event due to what they called an “imbalance” between the cost of hosting the ceremony and the amount the government allocates to fund the film productions.
The initial budget for the awards ceremony was set at €400,000 while the film fund stood at €600,000 per year.
But as the marketing for the ceremony ramped up and British comedian David Walliams was asked to host it, rumors from industry sources began circulating that the cost had skyrocketed to well over £400. 000 €. Some have estimated that it must have cost well over a million euros.
But Bartolo did not reveal anything on Friday evening. “I never speculate on numbers,” he said when prompted to provide a number for the black-tie event.
“I will stick to my word and table these figures in the House once Parliament is back in session.”
Labor has pledged €2m in funding to Screen Malta-Clayton Bartolo
He said it was a shame some people tried to “politicize” the film’s awards as they celebrated the creative industry and built a roadmap for its future success.
“Labour has pledged €2 million in funding for Screen Malta which is a commitment to give artists a clear indication of where we want the local film industry to go,” he said. added.
Last week, the Malta Film Commission rejected a Freedom of Information request from The Times of Malta for details of the cost of the film’s awards as well as invoices related to Malta Film Week.
The commission said the data was “still being compiled”, well over a month after the event was held.
Days before the awards ceremony, film commissioner Johann Grech declined to disclose whether the cost exceeded the allocated budget.
Directors of international award-winning films Luzzu and Simshar were among those who boycotted the event.
Independent candidate Arnold Cassola has asked the National Audit Office to investigate the matter.
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