New York State’s chief economic development agency Empire State Development (ESD) announced that Gigi Semone has been named executive director of the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development.
“Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, productions and postproductions are flocking to New York, creating new jobs and pumping billions into our economy,” ESD president, CEO and commissioner Kenneth Adams said. “I am pleased to welcome Gigi Semone to our team, and look forward to working with her as we continue to make the Empire State the place to be for the film and television industry.”
“This is an exciting time to join the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development,” said Gigi Semone. “The office is on a record-breaking path, bringing new productions and jobs to all parts of the state. I am honored to take on this new role, and am committed to fostering the growth of this critical economic development engine.”
As executive director, Semone will be responsible for marketing New York State as a location for film and television production and will also oversee new initiatives championed by Governor Cuomo to grow the industry, especially Upstate. Semone will report to Rhoda Glickman, senior vice president for arts, culture and film development.
Semone comes to ESD with extensive industry experience. Most recently, Semone was the executive vice president of national publicity for Sony Pictures Entertainment, where she crafted and executed national broadcast, digital, print and radio publicity strategies. Prior to joining Sony, Semone was the vice president of Walt Disney Company’s East Coast publicity division, where she managed all aspects of magazine publicity for live-action and animated films including East Coast events and press coverage. Semone received her B.A. from Colgate University. A native New Yorker, she resides in New York City with her husband.
Since Governor Cuomo took office, New York State’s film and television tax credit program has seen a surge in program applications. It is estimated that the 349 projects that have filmed or applied to the program during the Cuomo administration will result in over $5.5 billion in direct spending in New York State. Many major television and film productions have cited the program as a leading factor in their decision to film and produce in New York State.