Karen Constine, the top aide to Los Angeles City Councilwoman Laura Chick, has been selected by Gov. Gray Davis as the new director of the California Film Commission after the post had been vacant for nearly a year.
Constine confirmed that Davis will name her to the position, vacated last March by Patti Stolkin Archuletta, and indicated that an official announcement is likely to be made soon. Representatives for Davis’ office said the appointment has not been disclosed. The California Trade and Commerce Agency, which oversees the film commission, did not respond to inquiries.
Constine, who serves as Chick’s chief of staff, has a reputation as an effective consensus-builder for the two-term councilwoman, who announced last year that she plans to run for city controller next year. Chick’s Third Council District includes Encino, Reseda, Tarzana and Woodland Hills.
Constine will become the third head of the commission, which serves as a liaison among local film agencies and oversees filming on state property. Archuletta served in the post for seven years after succeeding Lisa Rawlins, who was named to it in 1985, when the commission was first created.
Archuletta, a longtime supporter of Republican Gov. Pete Wilson, resigned two months after Davis took office as the first Democratic governor in 16 years and took a job with a local production company. During her tenure, the commission took an active role in combatting runaway production to less expensive locations by pushing for streamlined permitting rules, better coordination among local agencies, encouraging a “film-friendly” atmosphere and setting up a yet-to-be-launched CinemaScout online database of production locations in California.
State government surveys showed the state’s film production industry grew from $16 billion in 1992 to $28 billion last year. But concern flared last summer when a study, commissioned by the Screen Actors Guild and Directors Guild of America, estimated that runaway production, much of it to Canada, created $2.8 billion in direct losses in 1998.