The New York State Governor's Office of Motion Picture and Television Development Announces Second Annual Pitch NY Event to Promote Diverse Voices in the Entertainment Industry

Event Connects Aspiring Filmmakers, Producers and Writers with Industry Leaders for Advice and Resources

October 11, 2017

Students Participate in Statewide Marketing Competition to Create Promotional Videos Encouraging College Students and Young Professionals to Start Their Careers in New York

The New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture and Television Development (MPTV) today announced Pitch NY, a workshop to provide aspiring filmmakers, producers and writers from across New York with resources and advice and connect with industry leaders to advance their careers. Pitch NY, hosted by MPTV and NBCUniversal Studios in collaboration with the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, is the second annual event and most recent initiative promoting the inclusion of diverse voices in the entertainment industry.

“In New York, our greatest strength lies in our rich cultural diversity and history of equality,” Governor Cuomo said. “Today’s Pitch NY event will connect students from across the state to top industry professionals, helping to cultivate the next generation of creative talent and highlighting diverse voices in the entertainment sector. Together we are creating opportunities for all New Yorkers.”

The New York State Governor’s Office of Motion Picture & Television Development works closely with studios and non-profit organizations to cultivate New York State’s homegrown talent and help build and expand pathways for aspiring content creators. In order to participate in the Pitch NY workshop, students interested in careers in the entertainment industry were selected by the National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts. The 41 student participants that were selected are undergraduate, graduate and recent alumni who hail from areas throughout New York State and represent a combination of public and private universities.

A day-long interactive workshop, Pitch NY featured Digital & New Media and Getting Your Story Heard informational panels, a breakout "speed dating" pitching session, and a marketing competition. The event was held at NBCUniversal's 30 Rockefeller Plaza studios.

New media experts from Picture Motion, Pocket Watch and Vice discussed industry trends and provided students with insight into the innovative and evolving content creation and distribution structure in a post-cable world. Representatives from NBCUniversal, the American Black Film Festival and a Pulitzer Prize-winning writer provided advice and personal anecdotes to teach students how to advance their stories and break into the industry. Actor Arturo Castro, known for his work in Comedy Central's Broad City, Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk and Netflix’s Narcos joined the event to share his rise to fame and offer advice on how to entertain across all platforms.

Participating students were paired with producers, developers, writers and professors from Stockade Works, Elixir Films, NBCUniversal, Bridge Independent, Daniel Fried Productions, CBS Corporation, Television Avex International Inc., Vice, Alloy Entertainment, Fordham University, Bossy Boots Inc., 21st Century Fox, HBO Films, For Impact Productions, Ithaca College, Defina Film Productions, Revelations Entertainment and PGA East. 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.

Pitch NY students were also offered the opportunity to work with Empire State Development’s marketing team as part of a statewide marketing campaign. Students will be able to present story ideas for promotional New York State videos with the goal of encouraging college students and young professionals to choose New York as the place to build their careers and begin their adult lives. If the pitch is successful, students will be awarded $1,000 to produce a social media short and have the additional opportunity to have their content displayed on state websites as part of this marketing campaign. The top winners will also receive a $4,000 grand prize for their work.

ESD President, CEO & Commissioner Howard Zemsky said, “New York State has established itself as a global marketplace for film and television production, which has facilitated billions of dollars in spending and the creation of more than 1 million jobs across the state. New York is at the forefront of innovation and programs like Pitch NY help young voices break into the innovation economy, celebrating the state’s diverse workforce and creating jobs for all New Yorkers.”

Craig Robinson, EVP and Chief Diversity Officer, NBCUniversal said, “NBCUniversal takes a leading role in developing an industry workforce that reflects our audience and the world. We’re proud to continue our sponsorship of the Pitch NY program and thank Governor Cuomo for his shared commitment to fostering diverse talent.”

Felix Sanchez, Chairman and Co-founder, National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts, said, "The National Hispanic Foundation for the Arts is proud to partner with Governor Cuomo and NBCUniversal for the second annual Pitch NY event. Congratulations to the forty-one future filmmakers, writers, directors and actors from colleges and universities across New York State who were competitively selected to participate today. 

Actress, Filmmaker & Stockade Works Founder Mary Stuart Masterson said, “Programs like Pitch NY are opening doors and helping to facilitate access for those who have been historically underrepresented in the film and TV industry. Thank you Governor Cuomo, NBCUniversal and all of the industry partners today for helping to advance the vision of a more inclusive industry.”

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
ESD Press Office | [email protected] | (800) 260-7313