Who the hell is Johann Grech?

Film Commissioner Johann Grech

Johann Grech, Malta’s Film Commissioner has published a scathing attack against his critics in a bizarre video message which sounds like the debut of his political campaign with the Labour Party. Johann Grech is confident enough to make this type of political message because he is a trusted Labour Party fixer whose political candidacy would be more than welcomed by Robert Abela. Having served loyally, the government has successfully used the Malta Film Commission for its own political ends and Johann has proven himself he can be loyal to Labour’s top brass.

Johann Grech, who is also the nephew of Monsignor Joe Vella Gauci and Malta’s Ambassador to Unesco, is a Labour Party activist. Prior to 2013, Johann used to work for Fresh Marketing Ltd, a Gozitan marketing company, but in 2013, Johann joined his ex-wife, Maria Grech to campaign for the Labour Party in the 2013 general election. Both Maria Grech and Johann Grech were newcomers to political activism, but suddenly, they discovered in themselves an over-zealous sentiment in favour of Labour winning the elections. After Labour won the elections, Maria Grech became Michelle Muscat’s personal assistant while Johann Grech went on to become Film Commissioner. What is also interesting and strange is that Johann Grech’s uncle, Joe Vella Gauci used to be visited in his office in Xewkija, Gozo by Neville Gafa where Neville used to then host meetings to promise favours to potential voters.

Eventually, Maria Grech and Johann split up and Maria ended up with Iosif Galea, the man who was arrested while on holiday with Joseph Muscat and is now being accused of money laundering. Maria Galea seems to be still on very friendly terms with Michelle Muscat and apparently, she is friends with many members of the Labour Party criminal cabal including Joseph Camenzuli who is now covering the criminal proceeds of Robert Abela’s business partner and cocaine dealer Christian Borg. I suppose that Johann is still on friendly terms too.


Maria Grech (Labour Party electoral campaign photo shoot)




Maria Grech and Iosif Galea



  1. A serious question we should be asking is whether the film industry as it is today (as opposed to film as an art form) is worth investing in at all. As big studios like Disney and Netflix are showing us by refusing to give in to the demands of striking writers and actors, the industry is bloated; full of people who are overpaid and resistant to technological change.

    The strikers refuse to accept new realities. First, intellectual property (think Barbie, superheroes and video-game characters) draws in more punters than big-name actors. It does not matter who is behind a Spider-Man mask as long as it is Spider-Man. Meanwhile, previously bankable franchises like Indiana Jones and Mission Impossible have done poorly this summer.

    Second, more and more people are watching shows made outside Hollywood, making Hollywood less relevant to television and cinema.

    Third, with so much material on demand, it matters little that a weekly show on television has been axed or not produced because actors and writers are on strike. People will watch something else, maybe a show made in Mexico, Canada or Britain.

    Fourth, studios will use Artificial Intelligence to cut costs, whether writers and actors like it or not. It would be ridiculous not to. Technology is invented to make work more efficient and less costly.

    Fifth, television and cinema have to compete with TikTok and YouTube stars for eyeballs. The latter produce content for a fraction of the cost that big studios spend on making a movie.

    So, in such an unstable environment, is cinema worth investing in with taxpayers’ money? Just because an industry is glamorous, it does not mean it makes sense to bend over backwards to attract it to your country. Saudi Arabia is currently spending untold millions to attract football stars, golf tournaments, Formula One races and boxing matches, but will these notoriously fickle industries really produce jobs for young Saudis or are they vanity projects of the ruling monarchs?

    It seems to me that Malta is trying to do in film what Saudi Arabia is trying to do in sport, but a responsible nation state should not use taxpayers’ money to prop up an unsustainable industry and keep salaries artificially high. Let the studios converse with actors and writers and let the chips fall where they will. If studios still want to film in Malta then, because they like it and are willing to pay their way, truly putting money into the Maltese economy, that is great. If not, so be it. Malta will likely never be the next Hollywood. Too bad. If some Maltese want to work in Hollywood that badly, they should move there.

    Of course, supporting film as an art form is a totally different thing. Films like Carmen (2021), Limestone Cowboy (2017) and Simshar (2014) are quirky, delightful, quintessentially Maltese projects worth supporting. Moreover, these films cost far less than anything Hollywood produces, so we can actually afford them.

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  1. He started out as a Joseph Muscat propogandist – Mark Camilleri

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