When the cameras again began to roll this summer on Universal’s “Jurassic World: Dominion,” one of the first major Hollywood studio films to resume production since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, the restart was a boon for the island nation of Malta, where a second unit crew for the $200 million blockbuster filmed in August.
Despite a spring shutdown for the local production sector, Simon Sansone, head of the Malta Producers’ Assn., estimates that roughly nine international film and television shoots will have lensed in the small Mediterranean nation by year’s end. “Having that number of productions is a very good sign,” he says. “We’re almost at full capacity.”
Last year Malta raised its cash rebate from 27% to 40%, making it among the most competitive in Europe. The country boasts one of the world’s largest water tanks and offers a range of historical settings that have been used as backdrops for productions such as “Gladiator,” “Troy” and “Game of Thrones.”
“Dominion” kicked off a busy period for the local industry, which is also hosting the survival thriller “Jetski” (pictured), directed by James Nunn and repped globally by Altitude Film Sales, and “Foundation,” an upcoming Apple TV Plus series based on the Isaac Asimov book series of the same name.
Sansone, who also served as line producer on “Jetski,” gives credit for the successful restart to a pro-business government that “did what they could in order to keep the wheel turning,” including a wage supplement for industry personnel affected by a spring shutdown.
While the pain caused by the pandemic was widespread, Sansone says that “there’s a lot of productions in the wings, ready to go” in 2021. “What’s important for the industry is to remain vigilant, because all it takes is a few mishaps due to carelessness that can really throw all the other productions off-track,” he adds. “These are very testing times, and we’re not through yet.”