Industry Star of the Month

Lis Pearson, New York Public Library

Lis Pearson August 1, 2011 - Hidden staircases and voluminous rooms loom large at the New York Public Library, which recently celebrated its centennial, and Lis Pearson, the library’s manager of special events marketing, is able to offer filmmakers hands-on coordination to ensure a seamless production.

“My goal is to make the library internationally known so that when people come to the City, they say, ‘I want to see the New York Public Library,’” she said. According to Pearson, the optimal way to do that is through films.

The special events staff has successfully orchestrated numerous productions over the years showcasing the iconic exterior and interior of the Stephen Schwarzman Building on Fifth Avenue. “You hear people everyday say, ‘This is where Ghostbusters filmed’ or ‘Which staircase did Carrie Bradshaw walk down?’” said Pearson. She’s even given the library’s volunteers a course about what’s filmed there to help answer the numerous questions they receive from visitors.

Sex and the City was massive,” she recalled. Normally productions film at the library overnight, but for this project, production took place while the library was open. Pearson remembered how she and her team were careful to maintain balance between the production and the library itself, to ensure that patrons could continue to use the facility during filming.

Another memorable production was The Adjustment Bureau, which featured the library as an imaginary space. “It was amazing,” recalled Pearson. “Every book in the great room was covered with wood paneling.”

Nowadays, the library no longer “stands in” for another existing location, like it did in 1999 for The Thomas Crown Affair when the library was used as the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The library is either featured as itself or as an invented place, like in the case of The Adjustment Bureau. It all goes back to emphasizing the library as an iconic landmark in the City. “I try to pick projects that put us out there [to the world],” said Pearson, who’s worked at the library for fifteen years.

“The building has such a variety of looks,” she said. “You can really find the nooks and crannies and hidden staircases.” Location scouts often return and bring new business. “People really respect the building and have a good experience.”

Pearson, who has a special affinity for the famous lions that guard the entrance to the building, also loves the McGraw rotunda and the big reading room on the third floor. There’s also a periodical room she’d love to see a production use in the near future.

For productions looking to use the library for their shoots, Pearson emphasizes that it’s important to know what you’re looking for. “We’re extremely involved from the beginning,” she said. “A building of this size, coordination is everything.” The special events teams works incredibly closely with the production so that when they walk in the door, things happen like clockwork. “We want to solve all the problems before they happen,” she said.

The library also shares many productions with Bryant Park since much of the exterior of the building is Park property. “We really work together as a team to make sure the experience is as seamless as possible,” she said. “I couldn’t ask for a better or more professional partner than Sarah Stutman at Bryant Park.”

On top of everything else, the Schwarzman Building has an extra special reason to show off. After undergoing a $53 million renovation of the exterior in honor of its 100th anniversary, the building sparkles. “It’s so bright and beautiful,” said Pearson. “I think you could see it from space.”

Industry Star

Margarita Acevedo, Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
John Battista, Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
Tom Reidy, Madison Square Park
Steven Holtzman, Canal Creatures Productions

Jennifer Lenihan, Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting
Lynne Meadow, Manhattan Theatre Club
Thomas O'Donnell, Local 817
Katy Finch, Brooklyn Workforce Innovations
Meredith Conti, Grand Central Terminal

Gino Lucci, Picture Cars East
Habibah Ali-Love, OFTB
McCord Fitzsimmons, Former OFTB Intern
Lis Pearson, New York Public Library
Veronica Miles, EcoSet
Lisa Rubin, Hudson River Park Trust
Mari Jo Winkler, PGA Green
Michael Super, Coney Island, Parks and Recreational Manager
Caroline Stephenson, NYC Economic Development Corporation
Lisa Lucas, Tribeca Film Institute

Harriet Taub, Material for the Arts
David Moy, OFTB
Fred Cerullo, Grand Central Partnership
Marge Feinberg, DOE
Nate Grove, Marinas
Frank Gribbon, FDNY
Jeffrey Sangrund, Brooklyn Bridge Park
Javonne Parker, Staten Island Ferry
Justin Green, Build It Green! NYC
Tom Ross, "Law & Order: Criminal Intent"
Eric Peterson, Randall's Island
Connie Fitzgerald, Department of Environmental Protection

Joey Violante, Technicolor
Stephanie Argamaso, OFTB
Vito Turso, DSNY
Elizabeth Rapuano, Governor's Island
Estelle Cooper, Flushing Meadows Corona Park
Alvah Holmes, Former MOFTB Intern
Dana Kuznetzkoff, Line Producer
Eva Radke, Film Biz Recycling
Karen Meyerhoff, Guggenheim
Meredith Rothstein, Roseland Ballroom
Charlotte St. Martin, The Broadway League

The Artists Company
Celina Sze, OFTB
Sharon Jensen, The Alliance for Inclusion in the Arts
Terence Gray, New York Television Festival
Sam Levy, Summer Play Festival
Wes French, General Services Administration
Tom Maiorano, Brooklyn Navy Yard
Joan Cooney, South Street Seaport
Jeannine Marotta, Staten Island Economic Development Corporation
Brooke Smy, Tishman Speyer
Elliott Kerman, Tax Credit Accountant

Matthew Kania, Assistant Location Manager
Lieutenant Joe Lassen, Movie/TV Unit
In Memoriam - Nancy Littlefield
Ivory Henderson-Robb, Department of Transportation
Jack Powers, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Robin Forst, Lower Manhattan Construction Command Center
Kitty Preston, CUNY Locations
Liz Carollo, Greenmarket
Donna Masly, Roosevelt Island Operating Corporation
Sean Jones, New York City Department of Corrections
Sheila Greene, NYCHA

Ralph Musolino, Parks and Recreation
Rick Cotton, NBC Universal
Joe Fontao, Location Manager
Gretchen McGowan, HDNet Films/Open City Films
Tim Tompkins, Times Square Alliance
Erika Feldman, Theatre Row
Vin Lenza, Staten Island Development Corporation
Tristan Assent, "Made in NY" PA
Denise Motta, New York City Economic Development Corporation
Terry Lawler, New York Women in Film and Television
Monty Ross, 40 Acres and a Mule

Pat White, Local 764
Michelle Byrd, Independent Feature Project
Matt Miller, AICP
Kyle McCarthy, MTA Metro-North
Jeannette Pinero, Department of Correction
Bambi Brook, Dawn Animal Agency
Andy Nagy, NYCHA
Juan Rosario, HPD
James J. Claffey, Jr., IATSE Local One
Mac Brown, Producer
Cheryl Hodge, VTU
Llewellyn Wells, Executive Producer
Lawrence Major, Parks and Recreation

Ken Konfong, Economic Development Corporation
Whoopi Goldberg, Actress/Producer
Caroline Baron, FilmAid International
Thomas O'Donnell Sr., Local 817
Drew Jiritano, Special Effects Coordinator
Carla Rajj, Location Manager
Al Cerullo, Film Pilot
James Lauer, FDNY
Dan Mercado, Parks and Recreation
Rebecca Seale, DCAS
Alberteen Anderson, MTA
Joseph Ellis, NYPD
Peter Basich, DOT
Richie Silverman, NYPD