Industry Leaders Join Aspiring Filmmakers, Producers and Writers for Two Days of Learning and Networking at Legendary 30 Rockefeller Plaza
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Governor Andrew M. Cuomo today announced the fourth installment of PITCHNY℠, a two-day workshop to provide aspiring young filmmakers, producers and writers from across New York State with resources and in-person mentorship from entertainment industry leaders to advance their careers. The event, hosted by the Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development and NBCUniversal in collaboration with Tribeca Film Institute, is the most recent state initiative to promote the inclusion of diverse voices across the entertainment industry.
"New York's greatest strength is our diversity, and we want to break down barriers to help ensure people from different backgrounds have a seat at the table in the film and television industry," Governor Cuomo said. "This event connects a diverse set of aspiring young content creators with the mentors, exposure and resources they need to gain access to the industry, paving the way for new talent and generations of diverse writers, directors, producers and studio executives."
Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, who spoke at the PITCHNY℠ event, said, "Under Governor Cuomo's leadership, New York State is setting a nation-leading example creating equal opportunity for all, and PITCHNY℠ perfectly encapsulates those efforts. This is an exciting and inspiring event that's opening doors for diverse young filmmakers, producers and writers from across the Empire State to make their unique voices and stories heard through screenplays, scripts and the silver screen."
The Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development works closely with studios and non-profit organizations to cultivate New York's homegrown talent and help build and expand pathways for aspiring content creators. To participate in PITCHNY℠, undergraduate and graduate students and recent alumni interested in careers in the entertainment industry submitted applications and were selected by the Tribeca Film Institute. The 50 finalists hail from areas throughout New York State and represent a combination of public and private universities, including:
- Barnard College
- Brooklyn College
- City College of New York
- The College of Saint Rose
- Columbia University
- CUNY Baruch College
- Fashion Institute of Technology
- Fordham University
- Hofstra University
- Hunter College
- Ithaca College
- LaGuardia Community College
- Long Island University Brooklyn
- Marist College
- The New School
- New York University
- Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute
- Sarah Lawrence College
- Schenectady County Community College
- St. John's University
- SUNY Buffalo State
- SUNY Empire State College
- SUNY Oswego
- SUNY Potsdam
- SUNY Purchase
- SUNY University at Buffalo
- Syracuse University
The first day of the two-day event included a practice pitch workshop led by Tribeca Film Institute and a welcome reception enabling networking between participants and industry veterans. The second day featured informational panels, round table discussions and a one-on-one "speed dating" pitch session with entertainment experts. The event was held within NBCUniversal's legendary headquarters at 30 Rockefeller Plaza.
Speakers across both days of the event included Secretary to the Governor Melissa DeRosa, Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler, Tribeca Enterprises CEO & Co-Founder Jane Rosenthal, NBCUniversal General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation Kimberley D. Harris and NBCUniversal Vice President Diversity & Inclusion Salvador Mendoza. Actor/Writer/Producer/Director Arturo Castro, known for his work in Comedy Central's Alternatino and Broad City and Netflix's hit series Narcos, joined the event to share his personal story and offer advice on how to entertain across all platforms.
New media experts from YouTube Space New York, Jax Media and NBC Entertainment discussed industry trends and provided students with insight into the innovative and evolving content creation and distribution structure in "The Changing Media Landscape" panel. The "Get Your Story Heard" panel featured award-winning Actor/Producer/Writer/Directors Otoja Abit and Melissa Haizlip, who provided advice and personal anecdotes to teach students how to advance their stories and break into the industry.
Participants were paired with producers, writers, directors, developers and executives from Universal Content Productions, Tangerine Entertainment, America's Rainbow Film Festival, Warner Horizon TV, DeFina Film Productions, Tribeca Film Festival, Topic Studios, Stockade Works, CBS Corporation, Edgeworx Studios, WBTV, HBO, Berlanti Productions, Int'l Puerto Rican Heritage Film Festival, Red Crown Productions, Sony Pictures Entertainment and Bushwick Film Festival. Actress Ebonée Noel, who plays Analyst Kristen Chazal on CBS's FBI, also joined to deliver remarks highlighting the importance of diverse content creators in the industry.
In these one-on-one sessions, students practiced their story pitches and received feedback and constructive criticism from industry leaders. The industry representatives simulated real-life pitching situations and gave students an opportunity to share their stories and enhance their pitching skills. These "speed dating" pitching sessions also connected entertainment industry leaders with a rising generation of diverse content creators.
Empire State Development Acting Commissioner and President & CEO-designate Eric Gertler said, "The film and television industry is an important part of our state's economy, and today's PITCHNY℠ event is one of many ways we are expanding the entertainment sector and working with industry professionals to expand pathways and increase opportunities for talented New Yorkers."
NBCUniversal General Counsel & Executive Vice President of Comcast Corporation Kimberley D. Harris said, "This year, PITCHNY℠ has created another extraordinary program to help develop the next generation of diverse storytellers, and our shared vision makes this partnership especially meaningful for NBCUniversal."
Jane Rosenthal, CEO and Co-Founder, Tribeca Enterprises said, "PITCHNY℠ helps to amplify new voices in film and television, which is aligned with our mission at TFI. We're excited to welcome the fourth class of participants of this program. This is a significant learning opportunity for emerging artists to practice pitching and hear from industry veterans on their experiences."
New York State continues to lead the nation in the fight for social justice and embracing diversity by passing legislation to ensure LGBTQ rights and marriage equality, welcoming our immigrant community, launching a women's equality agenda and fighting workplace discrimination. PITCHNY℠ builds on Governor Cuomo's legacy of expanding opportunity, increasing diversity, promoting inclusion and standing up for all minority groups in New York State.
About the Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development
The New York State Governor's Office of Motion Picture & Television Development, a division of Empire State Development, offers film, television and commercial productions and post production tax credits for qualified expenditures in New York State. The office also serves as a liaison between production companies and city and local governments, state agencies, a network of statewide contacts, local film offices and professional location scouts and managers. For more information on filming in New York State or the Film Production and Post Production Tax Credit Programs, please visit www.NYSFilm.com.
NBCUniversal is one the world's leading media and entertainment companies in the development, production, and marketing of entertainment, news and information to a global audience. NBCUniversal owns and operates a valuable portfolio of news and entertainment television networks, a premier motion picture company, significant television production operations, a leading television stations group, world-renowned theme parks, and a suite of leading Internet-based businesses. NBCUniversal is a subsidiary of Comcast Corporation.
About Tribeca Film Institute
Tribeca Film Institute is a New York-based nonprofit organization founded by Robert De Niro, Jane Rosenthal, and Craig Hatkoff after 9/11 as a means to bring a community together through the power of film. Today, TFI works across the U.S. and globally to ensure that filmmakers and creators have the tools and resources they need to tell their stories, connect with audiences, and build thriving careers. We do all of this in service of the storyteller in order to break barriers to access, exposure, and sustainability that result from imbalances in representation and power. Working in documentary, scripted, and immersive media, TFI supports more than 225 storytellers each year through grants, mentorships, labs, and workshops valued at more than $2.25 million. For more information about TFI, please visit www.tfiny.org.