The curtain is about to fall on Amy Lemisch’s 15-year tenure as California Film Commissioner. Deadline has confirmed that the long serving Executive Director will exit the post responsible for overseeing the state’s rich film and TV tax credit program on May 10.
Now Gov. Gavin Newsom is keen to install his own appointees to the CFC, as often is the case with a new regime. Lemisch, however, was first named to her post by then-rookie Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger in 2004.
Under pressure as production fled the home of Hollywood for more tax lucrative realms like Georgia, the state introduced an incentive program in 2009 that the CFC ran. The band-aid program was a mere $100 million, didn’t allow films with budgets over $75 million to apply and was conducted as a much criticized lottery.
Still, in a Sacramento dominated by northern Cali pols, Lemisch was re-upped by his Jerry Brown upon his return to the Governorship in 2010. In 2014, Gov. Brown signed a massive expansion that tripled the tax incentive program, dumped the lottery system and allowed tentpoles to get a piece of the allocations. That 2.0 program was re-upped for another five years by Brown in 2018 just before the election that saw his Lt. Governor winning the top job.
Undoubtedly waiting for the axe to fall eventually after so long as CFC Executive Director, Lemisch was notified of the change in leadership in the past few days, sources close to the situation tell Deadline.
A big supporter of the state’s revamped tax incentives program, this is actually Newsom’s first direct move regarding the program and the CFC since taking office in January. No word on who he has in mind the run the Film Commission or fill other top spots.
The post is a key one for Hollywood as the Golden State doles out $330 million worth of film and TV tax credits annually. Among the latest projects to benefit from the program are the features Akira, Space Jam 2 and a pair of Janis Joplic-focused pics, along with such TV shows as Mayans M.C., Why Women Kill and the upcoming new Star Trek series starring Patrick Stewart.
Lemisch’s canning comes as the next round of film applications for tax credits are to be digitally submitted from June 17-21, with an announcement on the successful projects in early August. In terms of the small screen, the next application period for TV projects is May 20-24, with the allocations expected to be announced some time in late June or early July.
THR first reported the news of Lemisch’s pending exit.