European companies join forces in Malta

Malta has established itself as a leading film industry location in the Mediterranean. Its strategic location, climate and over 50 years' experience servicing film companies from the USA, UK, Europe and India are attracting top cine-services companies to share in this market sector.

In August last year, three major enterprises, Panalight Holdings, Cinecitta Studios and Nexos Lighting Malta, established a joint venture in Malta with the help and encouragement of the Malta Film Commission (MFC). David Grech, a Maltese with several years of international filmmaking experience, was appointed managing director of the new Panalight Nexos Mediterranean (PNM) enterprise. This is a one-stop shop rental services depot, making all the necessary equipment - including state-of-the-art ARRI products - available to filmmakers.

PNM recently invited other stakeholders, along with several European film producers, camera rental suppliers and manufacturers to a company launch event; these included ARRI, represented by Managing Director Dr Martin Prillmann, LEE Filters and Panavision UK. Trade publication journalists were also invited to cover the launch of the new joint venture.

The celebration was the first in a series of international media events aimed at highlighting the importance of Malta as a leading filmmaking location. Guests were taken to historical and natural locations, and invited to meet reps from the Mediterranean Film Studios and the Malta Film Commission at a cocktail party in the Upper Barrakka Gardens, overlooking the Grand Harbour in Valletta.

Investors attending the event included Roberto Jarratt, chairman of Panalight Holdings, David Jarratt who is responsible for European marketing, Giuseppe Basso, general manager of Cinecitta Studios, and Silvio Scerri of Nexos Malta.

"Nexos has been involved in every production that has taken place in Malta for the past 15 years," said Scerri. "This new partnership, with international industry powerhouses of the calibre of Panalight and Cinecitta, will allow us to offer a complete service to the increased number of productions being shot in Malta, and will also attract more business to the island."

Peter Busuttil, commissioner at the Malta Film Commission, commented, "The setting-up of PNM continues to further cement Malta's role as a top film-servicing destination and, more importantly, will also give us the opportunity to train young Maltese film technicians, allowing us to increase a number of specialisations to our already large pool of experienced film crews."

Elements of this story were first published in British Cinematographer magazine.