Film Commissioner Johann Grech’s IMDB portfolio “completely unethical”


Updated at 1:13pm with PM reaction.

Film insiders have questioned why a popular online film database credits Johann Grech with 64 film productions when he merely serves as Malta’s film commissioner.

Grech was linked to 64 productions on his IMDB page — an online database for the audiovisual industry — sparking allegations of unethical behavior.

On all but one of the credits, Grech is listed as “Production Support: Malta Film Commissioner” for films and TV series Jurassic World: Dominion, Luzzu And Foundation, endowment. Of Grech’s 63 commissioner credits, 24 are listed under “Thanks,” while the remaining 39 list him as an additional crew member.

Maltese times reached out to Grech on Thursday, asking why he is recognized as an additional member of each project’s crew, whether he has discussed accreditation with film producers and why he has been named on the website while other national film commissioners have not. Grech, who was appointed to the post in 2017 and is known for his close links with the Labor Party, did not respond to questions.

Film industry sources said it was inappropriate for Grech to link his name and credit specific films when his role in productions was minimal. “It gives the wrong impression that he has worked on many films when in fact he has not worked a single day on a film set,” said a source, who spoke on condition of anonymity.

All sources agreed to speak to them Maltese times without being identified for fear of being “blacklisted” by the Commission. “We all have to work with the Film Commissioner and Mr Grech has shown that for all his promises of ‘Chance for All’ only those close to him have his support,” a source said.

Johann Grech's IMDB page.Johann Grech’s IMDB page.

Former Maltese film commissioners have not listed their role as film commissioners but are included in IMDB for their work as producers and production managers on other projects. Overseas film commissioners tend to follow the same line.

British Film Commission CEO Adrian Wootton is only credited as writing/producing two episodes of the British arts television show Arena, alongside six special thanks during his time as head of the commission. Wootton has held this position for over 19 years.

“He should definitely be cut off from any credit,” said a source, adding that the commissioner’s role is to regulate the industry and liaise with foreign producers coming to Malta, rather than a stacked portfolio of online create credit.

“Beyond self-promotion, he may pave the way for a career in the film industry,” a source said.

The industry insider said: “This is embarrassing for us as a country and the minister responsible should really rein in this man.”

This is embarrassing for us as a country… the minister really should rein in this man– An insider of the local film industry

“It wouldn’t be the first time a film commissioner has entered the private sector after developing a network of contacts, courtesy of the taxpayer. It’s really one of those posts where revolving doors shouldn’t be allowed for at least a few years.”

The film order was in the headlines last year, especially as millions flowed to the film industry and lavish awards ceremonies. More than 2 million euros were spent on direct commissions from the film commission in one year, as published in government gazette Last month. Several posters have also been put up along the streets in recent weeks, advertising jobs in the film industry.

PN: Grech violates ethics out of personal interest

Responding to the Times of Malta story, Julie Zahra, PN culture spokeswoman, said the film commissioner continued to abuse his position.

She said the PN has spoken out about Grech’s abusive management in the past and that this is the latest case in which the government-appointed official has used his position for personal gain, which is against ethics.

Zahra said that among other things, Grech would be better off accommodating the needs of local film industry stakeholders who eventually seek work abroad.

She asked Clayton Bartolo, Secretary of Tourism for the film industry, to investigate Grech’s actions.

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