Mayor Jim Kenney Proposes Slashing Funding for Local Film Office

Barry Wetcher

Maybe Mayor Kenney is holding a grudge against the film industry because the Rocky redux didn’t win an Oscar? 

His administration is proposing to cut city funding to the Greater Philadelphia Film Office by half, according to the 2016-2017 fiscal year budget currently being debated by City Council.

The budget, which would begin July 1 if approved, decreases funding from $164,000 to $84,000 for the small public relations agency, which is tasked with promoting Philadelphia as a destination for Hollywood to shoot films. 

A spokeswoman for Kenney said the decision is one of many  “tough choices about the budget,” but added that Kenney is confident the Film Office can make up the lost funding through private donations.

“It’s not 50% of their total budget. The Film Office gets funding from many different places other than the city,” Kenney spokeswoman Lauren Hitt said. “Unfortunately, we had to make many tough choices about the budget and this was one of them. We chose the film office because unlike some of the other organizations under consideration for cuts, the Film Office has shown they can likely make up this money through private fundraising – and the City is committed to helping them with those fundraising efforts in whatever way we can.” 

A report by Philadelphia magazine, which first reported the cut, noted that the Philadelphia City Representative Sheila Hess, an official in the mayor’s office who handles public relations and event planning for the administration, sits on the board of the Film Office.

Hitt told the magazine that Hess is "committed" to helping the small agency secure funding from other sources to make up for the $80,000 loss.

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