The former Academy president takes the new position to stanch runaway production
Mayor Eric Garcetti has named former Academy president Tom Sherak as LA film czar, fulfilling his post-election promise to appoint a high-profile figure to steward one of his top priorities: keeping film production in Los Angeles.
In the newly created position, Sherak will “lead Mayor Garcetti’s efforts to improve Los Angeles’ economy and strengthen its middle class by supporting the entertainment industry and increasing local production.” According to the Mayor’s office, Sherak will earn $1 per year with the title of Senior Advisor and Director of the Mayor’s Entertainment Industry and Production Office.
“The entertainment industry generates more than 500,000 local jobs. Protecting and expanding it is an absolute necessity,” Garcetti said in the Thursday statement. “Tom will lead our campaign for production incentives in Sacramento and is empowered to work across city departments to make L.A. the best possible location for production.”
Los Angeles has suffered major declines in location production over the years as more states and foreign countries up their incentive programs.
“The entertainment industry has a true champion in Mayor Garcetti, and I’m honored to work with him to make sure L.A. is always the entertainment capital of the world,” Sherak said.
Sherak, a former distribution and studio executive, was elected president of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in August 2009 and served three terms. His tenure included a wholesale reorganization of AMPAS’ executive structure, the successful re-launch of the Academy museum effort, the signing of new long-term deals with ABC television and the Hollywood & Highland Center and the expansion of the best-picture category at the Oscars.
Sherak was one of the most visible Academy presidents in decades, but reached his limit of nine consecutive years on the board last summer.
Outside of the Academy, he has served as a partner at Revolution Studios, chairman of the Twentieth Century Domestic Film Group and executive vice president of Twentieth Century Fox, and as a consultant for Marvel Studios.
Since he left his Academy post in 2012, Sherak has been fighting a recurrence of prostate cancer, for which he has been undergoing chemotheraphy.
Garcetti made it clear after his election that film and television production flight would be a priority of his administration, telling TheWrap in July that he was planning to appoint a film czar and to lobby Sacramento for more tax incentives.
“This is a core part of our identity as well as the economy, it’s a central lever for prosperity as well as a sense of who we are,” Garcetti told TheWrap. “We have an obligation to align public policy and our culture to take advantage of that. Instead of taking it for granted.”
Garcetti said then that the competitive tax incentive environment was the biggest piece of solving that problem.
“We can do a lot to make filming easier here. To have communities embrace film, to market Los Angeles better, to humanize City Hall to the industry. That’s a minority of the solution. The majority part is increasing those tax incentives.”
Hizzoner said then that the film czar job would be threefold: “To be the face of filming in Los Angeles … To be the point of contact so everyone in the industry knows they can call and get help. … And to market Los Angeles to those who are no longer here, why they should stay if they are here and to folks who want to visit for tourism. It’s classic brand management. We’ve let the brand slip.”
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