Chief Change Rumored At N.Y. State Film Commish

In yet another indication of an imminent shake-up at the New York Governor’s Office for Motion Picture & Television Development, the George Pataki administration apparently made an unsuccessful move to replace film commissioner Bruce Feinberg.

Sources said Margaret Soter, the economic development director for New York’s Westchester County, was offered – and rejected – the film commish job Feb. 1. No word on her reasons for turning down the position.

The offer is thought to have been made the day after union reps and business owners met with state officials to voice support for Feinberg. Soter apparently was under consideration before the meeting, leaving some industry insiders wondering whether the powwow will alter the governor’s plans for the film office.

The governor’s office won’t comment on possible or pending appointments; Soter didn’t return calls seeking comment; Feinberg would say only that he has not been contacted by the new administration.

Feinberg was appointed by former New York governor Mario Cuomo, a Democrat. Cuomo was defeated in November’s election by Pataki, a Republican.

Speculation about Feinberg’s possible ouster has been circulating in New York City’s film and television production industry for weeks, with emotions peaking when word spread that the wife of a non-union film producer was under consideration for the job. A coalition of union reps and business owners met Jan. 31 with Charles Gargano, the state’s economic development chief, to express support for Feinberg and offer advisory participation should he be replaced.