The MFS Story
During the early fifties the Rank Organisation came to Malta to shoot on location their film 'The Malta Story', a war-time story in which Alec Guinness played the main role. The inlet of Dwejra behind the impressive Fungus Rock in Gozo caught the producer's attention. There were, in fact, talks of immediate return. However, it was not before 1953 that the crew of another film unit made its appearance on the island. This time with 'Single Handed', a script that was naturally dove-tailed for the local scene. Other small sequences of films followed with narrower gaps of shooting in between.
'Treasure in Malta', a family film in which a Maltese child was the protagonist, marshalled what may be called the dawn of the film industry in Malta. The film was perhaps the first in Technicolor located in Malta. The island's mysterious neolithic temples edging the ramparts of old mediaeval castles added to the thrills of fast moving adventures in a good story. It was an excellent advertisement even for the Maltese supporting actors all of whom were making their debut in the film world.
The prospects of a local film industry soon became the subject of a study and in 1964, the British special-effects wizard Jim Hole of Trading Post, who was assisted by Paul Avellino, set up shop in Malta creating the Malta Film Facilities, a new service company to the international film industry which then boasted the unique Surface Tank near the sea. For the film 'Raise the Titanic' another tank was to be built in 1979, a deep-water giant hole, which is the only construction of its kind in the world. As the popularity of MFS continued to increase so did its SFX machinery and facilities, with yet another tank, an indoor Insert Tank, being built in 1996 for the award winning Levi's commercial.
For thirty years Mediterranean Film Studios was a parastatal company until 1995 when it was acquired by Catalyst Entertainment Inc (Canada) and the Britt Allcroft Company PLC (UK). In 1999 entrepreneur Jost Merten bought the majority of shares with a commitment to making MFS the world's leading marine facility and a Full-Service-Studio.