ERPS’s Flo Mitchell-Brown Helps Revive NY’s Film and TV Production
By Sandy Drayton |
The Covid-19 pandemic took a toll on the entire entertainment industry, and New York City was among the hardest-hit locations in terms of production cancellations and lost jobs. But now the Big Apple is back and faring better than ever. The number of television shows and films being produced in the five boroughs is at an all-time high, with roughly 80 series shooting in Manhattan and a 34% total increase in episodic series since 2014. “A strong foundation of production workers calls New York City home, but sadly many saw their jobs and their livelihoods suffer during COVID-19—this administration is taking action to change that,” said Mayor Eric Adams. Flo Mitchell-Brown, head of industry engagement for ERPS, is among the people responsible for breathing new entertainment life into New York’s streets. Here’s what else you need to know about these exciting recent developments.
It’s fair to call Flo Mitchell-Brown an entertainment pro. Her 20-plus years of industry experience includes leadership roles that link back to her passion for film and TV. Mitchell-Brown held a seat on the board of New York Women in Film & Television (NYWIFT), cofounded “Give Film” in 2018, a philanthropic organization that works to create content for change, and currently serves as Chair of the New York Production Alliance (NYPA). All of which is to say that Mitchell-Brown has been deeply connected to the production community for much of her professional career. “The dream team is coming together at Extreme Reach Production Solutions,” she said when hired. “Working with thought-leaders in the industry to address the rapidly evolving entertainment industry and facilitate change is a dream assignment for me.” Now, Mitchell-Brown can add to her distinguished resume yet another accolade. Mayor Adams recently appointed her to the newly created Film and Television Production Industry Council. Read on to learn more about what this important organization was formed to accomplish!
As one of only 21 members comprising the Film and Television Production Industry Council, Mitchell-Brown has the important job of advising New York City’s production policies and programs. In that capacity, she’ll interact with Kwame Amoaku, former director of the Chicago Film Office who was just named by Adams to the role of deputy commissioner for film at the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME). “New York City’s film and television industry led the recovery of our creative economy; demonstrating its importance to our city’s cultural identity and vitality; and drawing talent, businesses, and tourists from around the world,” said MOME Commissioner Anne del Castillo. “With the authority of Executive Order 21, the leadership of Deputy Film Commissioner Kwame Amoaku, and the support of the Industry Council, we can advance a holistic and coordinated approach to strengthen and diversify the industry in New York City.”
NYPA shared a Q&A with Amoaku to help its community learn more about his industry experience and where he finds inspiration. Here are a few of our favorites!
NYPA: Your career spans over 30 years, starting out as a PA. In that time, have you had a mentor, and if so what was the best piece of advice they gave you?
Amoaku: Yes, I have a few people that have given me guidance and opportunities. The thing that has rung true with me to this day was the two out of three rule: good, fast, cheap. You only get to have two of those. Nothing has ever been truer.
NYPA: You were instrumental in getting the film industry back to work in Chicago during COVID. As challenging as COVID has been, what changes have you seen that could be seen as a positive going forward?
Amoaku: The attention given to the health and well-being, both physical and mental, of the crew. I think recognizing the importance of a happy, healthy crew is something that will continue way beyond the present situation.
NYYPA: What is inspiring you today?
Young content creators changing the whole game. I love the fresh look they bring to the craft. Old dusty crew like me can learn a lot from these young people.
Entertainment Lives On
The creation of the Film and Television Production Industry Council, along with its new roles for Mitchell-Brown and Amoaku, are part of a larger City Hall recovery blueprint known as “Rebuild, Renew, Reinvent.” Mayor Adams plans to invest steadily in New York’s creative economy and bring the entertainment sector back to pre-pandemic levels. The film and TV industry supported more than 185,000 local jobs, contributing over $82 billion to the city’s economy prior to Covid-19. So it’s important to focus on building back this once-thriving industry—or perhaps work to make it even better. “New York City has some amazing stories to tell, and we’re going to make it easy as possible for the film and television industry to tell each one of those stories,” said Adams. Go New York, and huge congrats to ERPS’s Flo Mitchell-Brown!