Tourism Minister Clayton Bartolo insisted on Tuesday it was ‘impossible’ to calculate the cost of the Malta Film Awards ceremony as it was part of a package worth 1.3 million euros for the entire Malta Film Week.
Questioned by this editorial staff, Bartolo rejected the idea that he lacked transparency by not disclosing the amount spent during the awards evening.
Bartolo said that “when one negotiates a package deal for an entire week (of events), it guarantees better prices than would be paid if one had to negotiate for individual events”.
The Malta Film Commission said it was “unable” to specifically identify the cost of the Malta Film Awards event, as it refused a second freedom of information request on the subject filed by this newsroom.
The Malta Film Awards, which were organized on January 29, raised questions among the two filmmakers, some of whom even boycotted the event to protest against its cost in relation to the annual budget allocated to aid for the local film industry, and in the political sphere .
“We have managed to achieve good value for money for Malta Film Week, as even today we are seeing the first results of the stages we announced during Malta Film Week,” said Bartolo. , speaking after the grand opening of some Jurassic World attractions in Valletta.
When asked why the ministry consistently refuses to disclose detailed expenditures, Bartolo said individual expenditures could not be provided.
“The Malta Film Commission had been working on the film week as a whole, so one cannot single out the Malta Film Awards alone and try to come up with a figure for the event itself.”
Multiple efforts to determine the cost of the event have been made since then, all of which have proven futile as the government has consistently refused to identify the exact cost of the event.
The Minister went on to explain how the package for Malta Film Week cost 1.3 million euros and that it is “impossible” to quantify the expenses incurred for the awards.
He added that Malta Film Week comprised some 22 events, some of which were masterclasses. During the same week, discussions also took place on the vision of Malta and the film industry.
Discussions were held with stakeholders who were present even for some of the masterclasses, he said.
“Above all, we are looking at screen tourism, which is the first element of the first steps for our country to enjoy films other than cinematically only,” Bartolo said.