Colleen Bell, a former daytime television producer and President Barack Obama’s pick for U.S. ambassador to Hungary, will take the reins of the country’s largest film commission as its new executive director. The appointment by California Governor Gavin Newsom comes days after longtime director Amy Lemisch stepped down from the post. Lemisch is credited with having replaced California’s unpopular lottery system with a robust new film tax credit in 2014, which has attracted new feature production as well as drawing runaway television series back to the state.
California’s film tax incentive is a hot topic in recent weeks, as controversial new abortion bills in incentives-rich states such as Georgia and Alabama have led some in the industry to call for production boycotts there. There is even talk of a new proposed provision in the California incentive that would reward productions relocating from those states in protest.
No official start date has been named for Bell, whose appointment was reported by The Hollywood Reporter.