The Maltese filmindustry suffered a body blow last year when, three months into pre-production,Steven Spielberg decided to postpone his highly contentious new film about theaftermath of the 1972 Munich Olympics and concentrate on The War Of TheWorlds instead.

Nonetheless,Malta (where films from Troy to Gladiator have shot in recentyears) is regrouping: representatives of Malta's Film Commission will be inBerlin this week to announce a raft of new financial incentives designed toattract international production to the island.

Under themeasures, producers will be entitled to a rebate on their expenditure in Maltaof up to 20%. "The rebate will take the form of a cash grant which will beawarded to a qualifying production on completion of the film," said OliverMallia, Malta's Film Commissioner.

A secondincentive is targeted at companies offering services to the Maltese industry,whether they're based in Malta or abroad. This will take the form of investmentcredits and tax rebates for outfits which register on the island.

Mallia remainsconfident that Spielberg's delayed Munich film will eventually shoot on theisland. An account of how Mossad agents tracked down the Palestinian gunmenbehind the killing of the Israeli athletes at the Olympics, this promises to bea controversial affair. "It's still on the cards," Mallia said of the film,suggesting that there is a chance that it may shoot as early as this summer.

Malta'sMediterranean Studios are over 40 years old. Though there is a shortage ofsound stages on the island, Mallia says that the Government has offered use ofits own property to producers either free of charge or for a minimal fee.