Steve Dayan Elected Chairman of California Film Commission

Steve Dayan, recently elected as secretary-treasurer of Teamsters Local 399, was chosen as the chairman of the California Film Commission for its 2014 term.

Dayan was chosen at a meeting of the commission at SAG-AFTRA headquarters in Los Angeles on Friday. Also elected were Hilary Rice Armstrong as vice chair and Lindy DeKoven as secretary.

Dayan succeeds Keith Weaver, senior VP of government affairs at Sony Pictures Entertainment.

At the meeting, Weaver alluded to the media coverage of State Sen. Ron Calderon (D-Montebello). Al Jazeera America posted an affidavit online last week describing a sting operation in which the FBI agents posed as film producers pressing to expand the state’s incentive program in exchange for payments and other benefits for Calderon’s family.

Since then, advocates of the incentives program have distanced themselves from Calderon controversy. Weaver noted that the state incentive program is “transparent” and that its legitimacy has “not been called into question.” Calderon was removed as a member of the film commission last week, and no successor has been named.

Calderon on Friday lashed out at an assemblywoman, Cristina Garcia, who called for his resignation in the wake of the FBI sting, as well as Al Jazeera America for releasing a document that was under seal. “It is outrageous in a democratic society for Cristina Garcia, an elected official, to trample on the Constitution by making a mockery of the presumption of innocence, a fundamental right, and seek political gain by embracing the criminal acts of media outlets that violate federal law by revealing the contents of sealed federal documents,” he said in a statement.

An alliance of studio officials, union reps and film commissioners is preparing to lobby Sacramento to expand the incentive program, with legislation being crafted that is expected to focus on expanding eligibility to big-budget movies about $75 million, as well as network and premium cable drama series. Also in the works are proposals to expand incentives for productions that relocate to California, and another tax credit for productions that shoot in state yet outside the 30 mile Los Angeles production zone.

The legislation, expected to be introduced in January, will have a long way to go for passage, with up to eight committees in the Assembly and Senate where it can be marked up for amendments. The other question is whether Gov. Jerry Brown will sign an expansion of the credit.

Amy Lemisch, executive director of the film commission, said they plan to boost the profile of California filming by publishing a magazine, Location California, that will be debuted at the Sundance Film Festival in January.

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  1. Robbie Goldstein says:

    Good for California Steve is a smart innovative inclusive personality who will try his hardest to finally bring some focus to the catastrophic events facing our film industry and workers.
    People are hurting please assist in doing what you know a right to move the industry forward.
    Robbie Goldstein

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