ESD Announces New York State Multicultural Creativity Summit to Promote Diversity in the State's Film and Television Industry

Event Connects Film Students with Studio Leaders for Advice on Navigating the Film and Television Industry; Today’s Summit is the Fourth State-Sponsored Initiative Focused on Increasing Diversity in Film and Television Production

Empire State Development (ESD) today co-hosted the New York State Multicultural Creativity Summit, encouraging content creators from all backgrounds to participate in the booming film and television industry. The Summit, hosted by the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development and the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), in collaboration with Urbanworld, is the most recent of New York State's initiatives to promote the inclusion of diverse voices in the entertainment industry.

“The film and television industry is booming in New York State, generating thousands of jobs and billions of dollars in economic activity throughout the state each year,” said ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky. “Under Governor Cuomo’s leadership, we are focusing on initiatives that celebrate New York’s rich cultural diversity and promote greater inclusion of different voices and communities in the film and television industry. Today’s summit introduces the next generation of content producers with top industry leaders, ultimately creating a stronger, more inclusive entertainment sector in New York State.”

The Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development (MPTV) works closely with studios, non-profit organizations and film festival curators to promote New York State’s talent and help expand pathways for aspiring filmmakers, writers and producers. The day-long interactive workshop featured panel discussions that provided a roadmap for diverse content creators to navigate the film and television industry, followed by a networking session with representatives from  21st Century Fox, CBS Corporation, HBO, Paramount Pictures, Viacom, Disney, Warner Bros., and NBCUniversal. The event was held at the HBO Theater in New York City.

Participating students were also offered the opportunity to work with Empire State Development’s marketing team, on the heels of the state’s new integrated marketing campaign promoting New York’s equal rights destinations.

The Celebrate Equality NY Student Film Challenge will allow students to present story ideas for promotional New York State videos with the goal of highlighting the history of equal rights in New York. Up to 10 student finalists will win $2,500 for their ideas, three of which may have their videos produced by New York State and will win an additional $2,500 for their participation in production as well as the opportunity to have their content displayed on state websites as part of this marketing campaign.

Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America Senator Chris Dodd said, "The state of New York provides both a supportive environment for motion pictures and television programs and an incredible cultural and ethnic diversity. The MPAA is proud to host today's summit, and support inclusive storytelling in the Empire State and across our industry."

Urbanworld Festival Director Gabrielle Glore said, "New York has provided a vibrant destination for the Urbanworld Film Festival and its year-round programming, allowing our organization to thrive as a platform for diverse storytelling, while reflecting the cultural diversity of this great state.  Urbanworld is honored to co-host today's summit and support the exchange between emerging content creators and industry collaborators."  

As part of a statewide initiative spearheaded by the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development last year, MPTV has been engaging industry leaders and studio executives to help build diversity in New York’s film and television industry. Last October, HBO and MPTV led a discussion of best practices for increasing diversity in the film and television production industry. A range of nonprofit, corporate and government representatives also participated in the event, sharing ideas and program successes that have increased diversity across productions.

Last fall, Governor Cuomo announced Pitch NY, a workshop that brought together 31 aspiring student filmmakers, producers and writers from across New York with film industry leaders for advice, networking and resource-sharing. Pitch NY was hosted by NBCUniversal and the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts and was aimed at advancing the careers of fledgling filmmakers, and promoting diverse voices in the entertainment industry. Panel discussions and “speed dating” style networking allowed participants to pitch and network with the industry representatives from Universal TV, Viacom, Lionsgate, Sony, CBS, Warner Bros, Fox, Marvel, NBCUniversal, Vimeo, Vice Media, FX and HBO, as well as independent producers and writers and producers of House of Cards, Night Of, and Gotham.

Finally, in an effort to encourage participation from minority and women-owned businesses and vendors in the film and television industry, a first-ever Supplier Diversity Showcase was held in New York at the Time Warner Center in February. The showcase was collaboratively sponsored by Time Warner, NBCUniversal, the CBS Corp., Sony, Viacom-Paramount Pictures and the Walt Disney Co, in partnership with the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA), the Producer’s Guild of America (PGA), and the New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development. The goal of the event was to broaden the connection between the major film and television studios and the diverse supplier/vendor community and create a digital directory containing information on the exhibitors to be distributed to all attendees in the coming weeks.

About the Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development

The New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development (MPTV), 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


Madeline Belloff | [email protected] | (212)-803-3744

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