Office behind Philly movies, TV shows could be in jeopardy because of budget cuts

Mark Abrams
May 20, 2020 - 4:00 am

PHILADELPHIA (KYW Newsradio)  The future of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office could be in jeopardy because the office that supports it has been eliminated in Mayor Jim Kenney’s proposed budget.

Sharon Pinkenson, executive director of the Greater Philadelphia Film Office, learned the City Representative’s office, which provides the money from its budget to support the film office, is to be eliminated under the mayor’s budget proposal.

Pinkenson said the $131,000 the city has delivered each year for the past two years may not seem like a lot, but it represents 20% of the film office budget.

And, she said, it brings in so much more when you look at the bigger picture. 

“An annual historical return on investment of $638 for every dollar that the city’s contributed to the film office’s budget,” she explained. 

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Pinkenson is organizing efforts to appeal directly to City Council to keep the office alive.

“The mayor’s budget is a proposal and it has to be either approved or retooled with City Council,” Pinkenson said.

She said without it, Philly’s future as a place for film and TV productions could be cloudy.

“We have at least three, and possibly four, major shows have already told us that they’re coming back to start prepping in July and start shooting in September. And one of them is a big new movie from Netflix,” she said. 

Pinkenson said she interacts with another office set to close because of budget cuts as well, and it’s one that she frequently contacts for arrangements for productions.

“We coordinate directly with the Office of Special Events for filming requirements,” Pinkenson said. “And, we’re not quite sure how it would work if there wasn’t such an office.”