The news that Richard Brick passed away at age 68 is sad news for me, and the Gotham production community. Back when I was covering the New York production business closely, Brick became the film commissioner in 1992 under David Dinkins. This was right after New York went through a devastating production boycott by major studios that refused to shoot in the city until the unions agreed to help them make the location less expensive by becoming more reasonable on issues like overtime, staffing requirements and other issues. Brick, a Columbia U grad and a New York guy through and through, came in after being line producer on such films as Silkwood, Ragtime and Places In The Heart. His knowledge of how movies actually got made and his tireless energy made him an important player at a pivotal time. That included streamlining the permitting process.
Related: R.I.P. Richard Brick
Under his term–and helped greatly by the flexibility and forward thinking of union leaders like the late Local 817 Teamsters head Thomas O’Donnell–the production business rebounded in a big way and continues to thrive. Brick, always an outspoken guy, and he had the patience of a line producer, which means not much patience at all. Brick was endorsed for reappointment by the unions after Dinkins left office, but when incoming mayor Rudy Giuliani didn’t jump to keep him, Brick resigned. He went back to producing movies for Woody Allen, and many other films that shot in New York. He remained a fixture in the production community, and then he became an officer in the Directors Guild.
Beyond memorable film credits, his contributions to resuscitating the business in New York should not be forgotten. He was the right guy in the right job at the right time. That’s how I remember it.