Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger has named veteran film producer Amy Lemisch director of the California Film Commission in the wake of tapping a quintet of high-profile appointees to the panel.
Lemisch fills the slot vacated earlier this year by Karen Constine, who departed after the commission’s budget was slashed 90%. Jorge Jackson has been interim director since February.
Schwarzenegger announced April 15 that he had appointed Danny DeVito, Bill Duke, Clint Eastwood, Tom Werner and Lili Zanuck to the panel. The governor also pledged at that point to seek anti-runaway production legislation and asserted he wanted the commission to be more active in lobbying state and federal lawmakers to establish incentives to keep film production in California.
Lemisch has worked as a producer with Penny Marshall’s Parkway Prods. Her credits include producer on “With Friends Like These”; co-producer on “Riding in Cars With Boys,” “The Preacher’s Wife” and “Renaissance Man”; and associate producer on “A League of Their Own,” “Awakenings” and “Calendar Girl.”
The 19-year-old commission, headquartered in Hollywood, has been limited since last fall to a bare-bones permitting operation after cutting its 20-person staff by half. The state reduced its 2003-04 budget to $1.2 million, compared with $12 million in 2002-03, with the proviso that operations be limited to overseeing shoots on state property.
That move effectively ended marketing and incentive efforts, including the 3-year-old Film California First program that subsidized fees paid by producers for government services during filming on public property. Under the FCF program, the commission allocated $19 million in rebates to productions as part of its goal to put the brakes on runaway production.
Constine succeeded Patti Stolkin Archuletta, who served in the post from 1993-2000. Warner Bros. exec Lisa Rawlins, current chair of the Entertainment Industry Development Corp., was the first director of the commission after the body was created in 1985.