Statement from Film Grain Foundation regarding Valletta Film Festival 2020

Film Grain Foundation regretfully announces that the 2020 edition of the Valletta Film Festival will not take place.

The Valletta Film Festival is one of the few national cultural events in Malta organised by a private, voluntary, non-profit and non-governmental organisation.

Since 2015, Film Grain Foundation organised five editions of the Valletta Film Festival, making Malta part of the international film festival circuit. The festival attracted around 50,000 patrons and showcased over 500 feature and short films at various outdoor and indoor venues around Malta and Gozo. It represented Malta and supported local filmmakers at other top-tier festivals and markets such as Berlinale, Clermont Ferrand International Short Film Festival and Sunny Side of the Doc in France.

Every year, the festival invited filmmakers to the Maltese islands, with many attendees presenting their work to local audiences and film industry professionals through master classes, Q&As and workshops. Some of these included cinema giants such as directors Roland Joffe, Peter Greenaway, Alan Parker, Agnieszka Holland, Liliana Cavani and Bela Tarr, as well as up and coming young directors like the D’Innocenzo brothers and Jayro Bustamante to mention but a few.

To make all of this happen, the core festival team put in innumerable voluntary hours into the fundraising, organising and running of the festival and fought tooth and nail to keep it alive.

Our financing strategy focused on securing an equal portion of funding, derived from ticket sales, public grants and private sponsorship. This is a commonly used strategy by NGO’s in similar positions and recommended by experts in managing cultural events worldwide.

Regretfully, and despite plenty of interest from the private sector, Film Grain Foundation did not receive sufficient public support for the organisation of the festival. As it is impossible for our voluntary organisation to make up the difference from a lack of public backing, we had decided to halt all preparatory activities for the festival.

That said, the extraordinary circumstances that the world is currently experiencing with the outbreak of COVID-19 and the restrictions that this pandemic is imposing on all our lives, would have made this year’s edition impossible to organise anyway.

The board of FGF would like to take this opportunity to first and foremost thank the festival core team, without whose tireless work the festival would not have grown into the event that audiences have come to know and love. We also thank public and private sponsors and partners that shared our enthusiasm and supported the festival thus far; the Valletta business community, whose engagement made the festival a truly local affair; our media partners, who promoted our activities and shared our news; and last, but certainly not least, the hundreds of volunteers, who offered countless hours of support to make each year’s event a success.

Most of all, we would like to thank the thousands of patrons from all over the world that attended the festival. We promise you that the Foundation is doing its utmost to continue the Valletta Film Festival and bring the best of independent cinema to Malta in the coming years.

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