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PR- 185-06
June 5, 2006


Mayor Michael R. Bloomberg presented the inaugural "Made in NY" awards to individuals who have made significant contributions to the City's entertainment industry this evening at a ceremony at Gracie Mansion. Filmmaker Noah Baumbach, Actors' Fund of America Executive Director Joe Benincasa, Actor Marcia Gay Harden, Student Filmmaker Kamaria Alvy Johnson, Actor Jennifer Jason Leigh, Association of Independent Commercial Producers President/CEO Matthew Miller, and Actor Tamara Tunie were honored during the ceremony as part of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting's "Made in NY" campaign, which recognizes and promotes entertainment production in New York City. 

"Last year, the 'Made in NY' program had a $1.5 billion economic impact on our state, and the biggest portion of that was felt right here in New York City," said Mayor Bloomberg. "A few weeks ago, our administration announced that eight new prime-time shows will be shooting in New York next season, which will result in thousands of new jobs in all five boroughs. Our Administration's success in growing this industry is also due to the loyalty and commitment of talented individuals who know that there is no better location for entertainment production than right here in New York. This evening, I applaud the first-ever 'Made in NY' honorees for their contributions to our local film, television, commercial and theatre industries."

"The tax incentives that the Office has fought for are a great gift to all New Yorkers in the film industry who want to stay here," said Noah Baumbach. "I grew up in New York City and I hope to shoot every one of my movies here.  If any of this sounds a bit scattered, it's because at this moment I'm in the middle of filming a scene at Silvercup, fulfilling the studio requirement in order to get those tax rebates!"

"As an organization 'made in New York' in 1882 by an act of the State Legislature, The Actors' Fund of America is thrilled to be recognized at the 2006 'Made in NY' Awards on behalf of the thousands of entertainment and performing arts professionals we serve each year," said Joe Benincasa.

"I live, and love, in New York City," said Marcia Gay Harden. "So to have the opportunity to work in this amazing location is a dream come true. One of my seminal New York moments was performing on Broadway in Angels in America. Pollock was also shot in New York - another seminal experience.  It was especially important for me, playing Lee Krasner, to be surrounded by the sounds of New York, as I was trying to learn a New York Jewish Queens accent. It was so wonderful to work all day, and then cross a magnificent bridge, and be home with my family for a few hours before a new exciting day on set would begin."

"I'm an L.A. girl, but I think of New York City as my home now," said Jennifer Jason Leigh. "It's terrific that the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting has made it so much easier to film here so we no longer have to face the impossible task of trying to make Montreal look like New York."

"I study film in New York because I have access to casts, crews and locations that are unparalleled," said Kamaria Alvy Johnson, who created the winning entry in a contest designed by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and Ghetto Film School to create public service announcements about the importance of the City's entertainment industry. "With every production, the entertainment industry brings essential support to New York, its communities and residents like me. It is an honor that the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting has chosen my PSA to help fellow New Yorkers recognize this."

"Commercial filmmaking has a long history in New York," said Matthew Miller. "It is fantastic that the City is recognizing the industry. It is really a salute to the talented New Yorkers who contribute to the economy through their work on commercials."

"Choosing to pursue my dream of being an actor in New York City has afforded me opportunities that exist absolutely nowhere else in the world," said Tamara Tunie. "Simultaneously starring in a Daytime Drama, a prime-time series, a once in a lifetime Broadway production, meeting my husband, who is 'Brooklyn-made,' and serving the Harlem Community with the academic, leadership and self-esteem building organization Figure Skating in Harlem - and the whole world knows there is only one Harlem - could only happen in the Big Apple!"

MOFTB Initiatives: Connecting New Yorkers to Jobs and Benefits from the Production Industry

"Over the past year, the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting has pioneered numerous programs to support our local entertainment industry and connect New Yorkers to the jobs and revenue it generates," Katherine Oliver, Commissioner of the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting said. "When productions shoot in our neighborhoods, they support local businesses, such as lumber yards, restaurants, clothing stores and office shops. And the industry is an important driver of our $23 billion tourism industry, because people around the world want to visit our great City after seeing it featured in a film, television show or commercial."

In January 2006, the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting launched the "Made in NY" Production Assistant Training Program, a series of free, full-time, month-long programs which prepare New Yorkers for jobs as production assistants and offer them job placements and connections within the field. The program is intended to connect a diverse group of New Yorkers with the new job opportunities that have been created by the "Made in NY" incentive program and teach crew members how to work collaboratively with the neighborhoods in which they shoot.

In January 2006, the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting launched a series of four panels addressing careers in theatre management, theatrical production and support, and acting. The program is intended to educate New Yorkers about the diverse job roles in the industry and connect them with resources, organizations and opportunities in the field. The first two panels took place in January and April 2006, and the next is scheduled for this summer.

In September 2005, the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, in conjunction with the City's Department of Small Business Services and the Independent Feature Project (IFP), established a workforce training program to support independent film production in New York City. The program has allocated $150,000 in federal funding to independent films which hire crew members at advanced job roles and train them to assume their new positions.

The program is intended to provide an additional incentive for production in New York, generate increased opportunities for New Yorkers who make their living in the industry, and ensure that, with the dramatic increase in productions coming to New York to take advantage of the "Made in NY" incentive program, the City will continue to have a strong indigenous crew base of skilled artisans.

In June 2005, the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting launched the "Made in NY" discount card program. Open to all New York City businesses, the program connects vendors to productions shooting in New York City. Each vendor offers discounts of at least ten percent. Already, more than 500 businesses across the City are participating. By lowering the cost of production, the card is attracting new business to the City and helping local businesses reap the benefits of the City's $5 billion production industry. Visit for more information on these initiatives.

The 'Made in NY' Honorees are:

Filmmaker Noah Baumbach has written, directed and acted in numerous films and received a 2005 Academy Award nomination for the "Made in NY" film The Squid and The Whale, which he wrote and directed. He also won the Director's Prize and the Waldo Salt Screenwriting award at the Sundance Film Festival and best original screenplay awards from the New York Film Critics Circle, National Society of Film Critics and National Board of Review for the film.

The Squid and The Whale also received three Golden Globe nominations, including Best Picture, and six Independent Spirit Award nominations, including Best Picture. Baumbach, who was raised in Brooklyn, is currently filming a Paramount Classics movie starring Nicole Kidman, Jennifer Jason Leigh, Jack Black, John Turturro and Ciaran Hinds in New York City.

Joseph Benincasa joined the The Actors' Fund of America in 1988 and currently serves as its Executive Director of since 1988. This national, nonprofit human service organization is headquartered in New York City and supports entertainment professionals. Benincasa oversees innovative programs, including comprehensive social services, health care services, employment and training, and affordable and supportive housing. He serves on the boards of directors of organizations including Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, National Theatre Workshop of the Handicapped, Career Transition for Dancers and the Times Square Alliance.

Actor Marcia Gay Harden recently starred in the feature film The Hoax, which will be released on November 3rd in New York City. She has also appeared in New York City films including Pollock, for which she received an Academy Award, Meet Joe Black, The First Wives Club, Mona Lisa Smile, and the New York television series "The Education of Max Bickford." Harden, who earned an MFA from the graduate theatre program at New York University, was featured on Broadway in Tony Kushner's Pulitzer Prize-winning play Angels in America, which earned her a Tony nomination, a Drama Desk Award and a Theater World Award, and appeared in the New York Public Theatre's production of The Seagull.

Kamaria Alvy Johnson is a first year graduate student at Columbia University, where she studies film. Johnson has been a student of the Ghetto Film School, a non-profit organization based in the South Bronx and supported by the City's Department of Cultural Affairs, since the School's inception in June 2000.

The School has taught film to some 400 students, through hands-on production and cinema studies courses. This spring, Johnson's public service announcement, "Thank You New York," was the winning entry in a program created by the Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting and Ghetto Film School, which challenged students to communicate the message of the City's attractiveness as a destination for film production and the benefits of the entertainment industry to the City. In "Thank You New York," residents discover that a film shooting in their community is employing their neighbors and contributing to our local economy.

Actor Jennifer Jason Leigh is currently starring in a Noah Baumbach film in New York City and has also made her mark as a director, writer and producer. She has appeared on the New York stage in Proof, Cabaret and Abigail's Party, a performance which earned her nominations including the Drama Desk Award for Best Actress and the Lucille Lortell Award for Best Actress. She has also appeared in the New York City film Last Exit to Brooklyn, for which she earned a New York Film Critics Circle Award, as well as Palindromes, In the Cut and Single White Female.

Matthew Miller is President and Chief Executive Officer of the Association of Independent Commercial Producers, an organization whose members account for 80 to 85 percent of all nationally televised commercials in the United States. The Association supports its members by disseminating information, negotiating labor agreements, developing industry standards, providing professional development and marketing American production through the AICP Show, The Art & Technique of the American Commercial. Miller is a member of the board of directors of the Adcenter at Virginia Commonwealth University, serves on the advisory board of the Association of Film Commissions International, and is a trustee of the Directors Guild of America (DGA) and the Producer/Cinematographers Guild of America's Accidental Death and Dismemberment Fund. Prior to joining AICP, Miller, a native New Yorker, was a director in the Member Services Department of the Association of National Advertisers (ANA).

Actor Tamara Tunie currently stars in the New York City-based television shows "Law & Order: Special Victims Unit," on which she plays Medical Examiner Dr. Melinda Warner, and "As the World Turns," on which she plays Jessica Griffin.

A resident of Harlem, Tamara got her start in the City's theatre community, where she appeared in the Broadway musical Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music, starred in David Merrick's revival of OH KAY!, and, after September 11, co-starred with Broadway veterans in the 20th anniversary concert of DREAMGIRLS. Most recently, she starred in Julius Caesar on Broadway with Denzel Washington. Her New York film credits include roles in The Devil's Advocate, Caveman's Valentine and City Hall, where she plays a press secretary to a Mayor played by Al Pacino.


Stu Loeser/Paul Elliott   (212) 788-2958

Julianne Cho/Kara Alaimo   (Mayor's Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting)
(212) 489-6710

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