New York City film commissioner Cynthia Lopez will exit her post after less than 18 months on the job.
Mayor Bill de Blasio’s office confirmed the resignation Friday morning. There had been rumblings that she was on the way out for months amid concerns that she had not done enough to build relationships with key industry leaders.
Lopez will formally remain commissioner through October. Luis Castro, first deputy commissioner, will then serve as interim commissioner until a successor is named. De Blasio credited Lopez with presiding over a nearly 60% increase in television filming alone during the past year.
Lopez, who joined the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment in April 2014, was a controversial choice for film czar. Some factions of the city’s entertainment industry worried that her prior experience as executive VP of American Documentary/POV — where she was a co-executive producer of the “POV” documentary series seen on public TV stations — wouldn’t give her the business acumen to keep the $7.1 billion industry thriving. It didn’t help that she was being compared to her well-liked predecessor under the Bloomberg administration, Katherine Oliver, who is widely credited with engineering and maintaining the current boom in local production.
“I want to thank Mayor de Blasio for this wonderful opportunity,” Lopez said in a statement. “It has been satisfying to know that every time a Made in NY truck is on the streets of our communities, it means 130,000 more New Yorkers in middle class jobs. When I began as commissioner, I wanted to ensure greater opportunities in the industry from diverse experiences, an increase in film production in the city, and to lay the groundwork for the agency to be more of a ‘one stop shop’ for productions. I am happy to say we’ve accomplished these goals.”
News of Lopez’s exit was first reported by the Hollywood Reporter.