For the past years, Film Grain Foundation has worked with us in order to select a good international queer film to screen several times at the film festival. Film Grain used to also give us space after the main screening for a Q&A session with the film's director, in order to discuss the main themes of the film. This gave the director, the audience and ourselves a safe space to discuss and debate, whilst also giving us the chance to directly address how the realities in the film match with the realities in Malta. It also gave us the opportunity to explain what support services exist and how to seek help. This approach applied also to other groups in Malta. Needless to say, none of this exists in the new events organised by Valletta Cultural Agency.
Our appeal to MaltaGov is that when assessing how funds for cultural events are spent one should avoid superficial assessments. Replacing Valletta Film Festival with the screening of five mainstream movies might have the immediate benefit of drawing larger masses. Nevertheless, in terms of cultural and societal values, it is a massive step in the wrong direction.