Cynthia Lopez is the new leader of the Big Apple’s film and television community…
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio has named the Latina film and television veteran as New York City’s new commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment.
The native New Yorker, who served as executive vice president and co-executive producer of American Documentary and PBS documentary series POV, has more than two decades of experience in New York City’s film and television industries.
At POV, she was responsible for all aspects of development including programming, community engagement, digital strategies and overall strategic growth of the organization.
During Lopez’s tenure, POV earned numerous awards and last year was one of only 13 nonprofits worldwide to receive a $1 million MacArthur Award for Creative and Effective Institutions.
“The film and television industries are central to New York City’s cultural vitality and to economic strength,” de Blasio said in a statement. “Cynthia has the experience and understands how the industry works in the city, and as commissioner, she will lead the administration’s efforts to continue keeping New York City a top filming destination — while opening up the industry to New Yorkers from all five boroughs.”
Lopez has made it a priority to promote the work of filmmakers from traditionally unrepresented groups and mentor first-time filmmakers, but she’s also something of a left-field choice, with insiders describing her as a sleeper candidate with extensive experience.
“Having spent my entire career working in the television and film industries in New York, I’m honored to join the de Blasio administration,” Lopez said in a statement. “New York City is a thriving center of production and home to thousands of creative professionals who contribute to the film and television industries — and I look forward to leading the administration’s efforts to drive more film production to New York.”
The commission over the last decade has revitalized the city’s film and TV production, bringing millions of dollars to the state via aggressive tax credits and a streamlined permit process. Currently 29 TV series are based in New York, while an average of 200 films — from tentpole blockbusters to indies — are shot here each year. It is estimated that 130,000 New Yorkers work behind the scenes in film and TV production.
Since 2004, film and television production has grown from $5 billion to $7.1 billion, with such films as Darren Aronofsky‘s Noah and Martin Scorsese‘s The Wolf of Wall Streetand Sony’s The Amazing Spider-Man 2filming in New York.
Television also thrived under Bloomberg’s reign with The Blacklist, Person of Interest, Girls and The Good Wife (where de Blasio made a recent guest appearance in a taxi cab video) becoming staples on New York City streets, and the growth of numerous studios including Steiner Studios, Silvercup, Kaufman Astoria and Broadway Stages.
Steiner Studios chairman Douglas C. Steiner said of de Blasio’s pick, “It’s incredibly challenging to produce television shows and feature films. It’s exponentially more difficult to make documentaries. Cynthia Lopez has had a stellar career in the documentary field. We’re thrilled with her selection as the commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment — her experience in the trenches will help make New York City even more attractive to the exploding industry of content creation, which is vital to the city’s future.”