Albershardt Steps Down As State Commissioner
State Film Commissioner Susan Albershardt sent an open letter to the Film and Entertainment Community Monday to announce that she submitted a letter of resignation to the Governor a few days prior. Below is a copy of the letter:
Dear Florida Film and Entertainment Community:
A few days ago I offered my resignation to the Governor's Office. The last 28 months as the state film commissioner, under the leadership of Governor Bush, have been filled with great successes and giant leaps forward in growing Florida's film industry. Working for Governor Bush has been an honor for me. I will always be grateful to him for giving me this incredible opportunity. I'm proud to list a few of our accomplishments:
- Passage of the Entertainment Industry Financial Incentive
- Passage of the makeup artist licensing exemption on qualified productions
- Launching the Media Arts Mentoring Program
- Launching the Professional Development Series
- Hosting the Florida Film & Entertainment Alumni Reunion
- Redesign of the filminflorida.com website
- An award-winning ad campaign
- Design and launch of the Online Production Guide
- Design and launch of the Online Sales Tax Exemption
- Accurate statistical reports based on entertainment industry wages
I am also happy to report that total industry wages have steadily increased by double digits since the third quarter of 2004. Applications for the sales tax exemption are on track to show the same growth rate for the fiscal year ending June 30, 2005. In the last five months Florida has played host to several motion picture and television productions and dozens of commercials.
Working with our state's Legislators has been quite an adventure. During my first year, even though the Legislature cut the film office's operating budget by 40%, they passed the Incentive bill to let us know that they believed in what we were doing. The next year they gave the film office $2.45 million as seed money to make sure the incentive worked. At all three committees I presented at this year it was obvious the Legislators were 100% behind the film office. We showed them that our incentive worked and they rewarded us by giving us $10 million, plus they gave us back the 40% in operating budget. In the past two weeks we have received dozens of calls from producers who are now interested in bringing their projects to Florida.
I am so proud of everyone on my small staff. Susan Simms, Niki Welge and Raquel Cisneros have all proven their loyalty and dedication time and again during our past years together. They are the most professional, smart, dedicated and caring women I have ever known. I will always cherish their friendship and our time working together.
Last, but certainly not least, to you, the Florida film and entertainment community. You have accepted me and stood behind me. You are the reason I took this position. You are the reason I've fought so hard to make a difference and make decisions that were fair and right. I look forward to working with you once again in the next chapter of my life, possibly side by side on a movie set. Right now, I'm going to find a beach and take my first vacation in years.
With warm regards,
A call placed by greenroomorlando.com to the Governor's Office of Film and Entertainment today 5/25/05 confirmed the resignation of the State Film Commissioner and that the resignation was immediate. Susan Albershardt is no longer in the office. When asked the process and procedure for the Governor's new appointment of a State Film Commissioner, we were told the office would get back to us as soon as they had the answers to our questions. We will bring you the information as soon as it is available.
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