State melds pic efforts

BOSTON — Massachusetts is getting ready to clean up the problem of competing film commissions.

Richard Krezwick, interim chief of the Massachusetts Sports & Entertainment Commission, has ousted Mark Drago from his post as executive director for film and announced that a nationwide search will begin to head up a new Massachusetts Film Commission.

Studios have been confused for some years as Drago, working for the quasi-independent Sports & Entertainment Commission, was competing with Robin Dawson, former state film commissioner who has been running the independent Massachusetts Film Bureau. To add further confusion, until last year, the state was funding both entities.

According to Krezwick, advertising in trade and national publications will begin for both a VP of film development for the state, as well as a director of film. Krezwick said he has had productive talks with Dawson about ending the confusion and hopes her office will shut down.

He told Daily Variety, “I’ve met with Robin a couple of times, and she’s very interested in working together and moving forward. She is not a candidate for the job.”

The Sports & Entertainment Commission members are appointed separately by the governor and both branches of the Legislature. As recently as a year ago, both Dawson and Drago were claiming to be the key person in bringing production to Massachusetts. Since then, the state has approved a number of new tax breaks and incentives geared to attracting film and TV shoots, and the response has been positive.

“It has stimulated a lot of interest,” Krezwick said. “We are constantly fielding calls.”

With both Dawson and Drago claiming to be the “go-to” person for producers, Massachusetts has remained a confusing place to shoot. Krezwick’s announcement should clear the decks.

With Gov. Mitt Romney leaving office in January for an expected run for the Republican presidential nomination, Krezwick was asked why anyone would take the jobs when a new governor — possibly of a different party — will assume office in January. He noted that because of the independent nature of the Sports & Entertainment Commission, the jobs are not contingent on who is serving as governor.

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