Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Perry's new film commish marks a shift in focus

Texas Gov. Rick Perry announced Monday that Heather Page is the new Texas film commissioner. She's got an interesting mix of background: she's worked for the Texas Film Commission (which is housed in Perry's offices), she's an actual working camerawoman and she's an at-large member of the industry lobbying group the Texas Motion Picture Alliance.

Her predecessor Evan Fitzmaurice, as well as his brief temporary replacement David Morales, is an attorney from Perry's staff. His legal background was seen by many as a desire to focus on cleaning up the process of distributing film incentive payments aimed at attracting film, television and videogame projects to the state. It was also a means of keeping the commission quietly chugging along--emphasis on quietly.

To mention the obvious, Page is also a woman, which is a plus considering allegations of sexual harassment involving former film commish Bob Hudgins just prior to his stepping down in 2010.  Hudgins, who had worked actively in the film industry, was instrumental in getting the Texas Legislature to approve a film incentives program. He was dynamo who pulled the state's many different regions together.

So the latest announcement can be seen as an effort to move back to the original role of the Texas film commissioner: attracting projects to the state.

Just one question: will Page  talk to the media? Hudgins saw that as part of his job. Fitzmaurice began referring all calls to the Perry's press office where they mostly died a slow death of despair.

Here's the press release from Perry's office:

Gov. Rick Perry has named Heather Page of Austin director of the Texas Film Commission. The commission supports Texas' growing and diverse media industries, and helps increase Texas' competitive position worldwide as a production destination. Page is an accomplished motion picture camerawoman, having worked on major feature films and television shows such as Revenge, Friday Night Lights, Armageddon and The Green Mile. She is a former workforce training administrator for the Texas Film Commission, where she helped implement the Workforce Training Program created in 2007 by the Texas Legislature. She is a board member of the Society of Camera Operators, chair of the International Cinematographers Guild Scholarship Fund and co-founder and director of Beyond the Lights Celebrity Golf Classic.

Page received a bachelor's degree in cinema from Denison University, a master's degree in cinema studies from New York University, and a certificate in graduate cinematography studies from the American Film Institute.

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