In an announcement made earlier today by New York City mayor Bill de Blasio’s office, Cynthia Lopez, the city’s film commissioner for less than 18 months, will resign. Lopez is to remain in office through October; Luis Castro, first deputy commissioner, will take over duties until a successor is named.
News media had reported for a number of months that Lopez was not successful enough in her job to keep the City’s increasingly important position. In a March 25th article in the New York Post, reporter Claire Atkinson said that she was seen as “too aloof, too slow to appoint crucial members of her team and not focused laser-like on attracting high-paying film-related jobs to the Big Apple.” Her position wasn’t an easy one, said Atkinson, coming as it did after a very successful reign by Bloomberg appointee Katherine Oliver.
Atkinson also reported that entertainment execs said that the state’s film office “has stepped into a perceived vacuum and taken a leading role in attracting filming to the state.”
Lopez’ situation wasn’t helped either by California recently upping its tax incentives to nearly equal New York states spending of approximately $400 million per year.
While De Blasio credits Lopez with presiding over a nearly 60% increase in television production during the past year, her business background as co-executive producer of the POV doc series wasn’t seen as substantial enough for the job. At last count, New York’s film industry was credited in creating $7.1 billion of business over the past year.