The announcement of the former The Bold and the Beautiful producer as overlord of the Golden State’s annual $330 million film and television tax incentive program comes less than a month after it was revealed that now-former executive director Amy Lemisch was exiting the job after 15 years in the job.
As well as her work over the years at Bell-Phillip Television Productions and for CBS, Democratic donor Bell was also President Barack Obama’s ambassador to Hungry from 2014-2017.
“I am looking forward to working in partnership with someone with Ms. Bell’s experience and qualifications as we strive to maintain California’s longstanding status as the home to the motion picture and television industry,” Thom Davis, chair of the CFC’s board of directors and IATSE VP, told Deadline on Thursday of Bell taking on the position, which has a salary of $170,004 a year. “Her prior experience in the entertainment industry will further strengthen the skills and expertise of the current California Film Commission staff, which includes several industry professionals.”
First appointed to a much leaner CFC by in 2004 Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Lemisch held the executive director gig for a record tenure amid a tidal wave of change both legislatively and in the industry. In 2014, Gov. Jerry Brown, who had re-appointed Lemisch in 2010, signed a massive expansion that tripled the state’s $100 million tax incentive program, dumped the lottery system that had made it a mockery, 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 Newsom win the governorship.
Bell won’t have a lot of time before getting into the thick of it, with the next application round for TV projects happening right now and ending tomorrow. On the feature film side, the next round of applications will be digitally submitted between June 17-21 this year.
Allocations for successful TV and movie projects are expected to be announced sometime in late June and late July, respectively.