Wednesday, 24 November 2010

There is no sand in Malta!

I was always proud of the film industry in Malta, ever since I saw Spilberg's "Munich" and kept been gob-smacked on how the set location manager managed to portray different aspects of the island as Cyprus, Lebanon and Peireas in Greece. Being Cypriot it took me quite some time to persuade other Cypriots that the scenes of "Nicosia" were actually shot in St. Pauls Bay in Malta - it was so believable right down to the Makarios posters on the wall!

Ever since i have looked at the success of Malta attracting foreign film productions with interest. Although the raod was bumpy and government support waxed and waned, there were some notable successes that brought income in relatively remote areas of the tiny island. I was always jealous since the last great film to be shot in Cyprus was in 1973 staring Peter Sellers, and it was so bad it never made it into the cinema theatres (my uncle worked as an extra on it)!

Thus I have been very upset to hear that one of the most beautifull wild areas of Malta, Dwejra, has had its ecosystem shot to pieces due to the insistence of a director to add sand to a scene. Malta has no sand - even its most famous beaches usually import the sand from the middle east - that is waht gives this islands it wild beauty - against all odds a rock in the middle of the sea is overpopulated by people, flaura and fauna. Ok having a film industry visit and give money is nice but just say no - the destruction of a habitat is not worth the $ given by an HBO miniseries.

Even more disgusting was the fact that the head of Malta's Environment and Planning Authority (MEPA)called the affected area, "just a bare Rock" after approving for effective breaches of environmental security procedures for the area. Well look around you Mr. Martin Seychell, head of MEPA -the whole of Malta is just bare rock and species have managed to live on it.

The only positive is that the EU is now involved and silly practises like this will stop - not only does it destroy the enviroment but it raises concerns over the whole future of filming in Malta - no company was to be lalbels as anti-green in hollywood.

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