Magazine article Variety

Can New Gotham Film Czar Cut It?

Magazine article Variety

Can New Gotham Film Czar Cut It?

Article excerpt

Barely four months into her post as commissioner of the New York City Mayor's Office of Media and Entertainment, Cynthia Lopez sits atop an agency responsible for the smooth operation of an industry that generates a whopping $7 billion in direct spending each year and provides jobs to 130,000 behind-the-scenes workers - figures that make Gotham the envy of many U.S. jurisdictions, including LA., which has seen its film and TV production volume dwindle to the benefit of areas with more attractive incentives.

Lopez, formerly co-exec producer of PBS docu series "POV," is a newbie in the world of film commissions, and has big shoes to fill. Mayor Bill de Blasio appointed her to succeed Katherine Oliver, who served under Mayor Michael Bloomberg and presided over the greatest production boom in recent New York history, thanks to the state's hefty $420 million annual budget for film credits. The question now is whether Gotham's new film czar has the chops and can develop the connections to sustain that growth.

You inherited a well-functioning department. How can you improve It?

I see this opportunity as a relay race. Katherine has passed the baton to me. It's not about just about maintaining the current level of production; it's about fostering new relationships. When my predecessor first worked here, there was less digital production. As technology evolves, distribution changes and mobile media (rises), we'll see changes in the kind of content that gets developed in New York. …

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