Governor Moore Announces Appointments to Maryland Entertainment Council
BALTIMORE, MD (January 19, 2024) — Governor Wes Moore today announced appointments to the Maryland Entertainment Council, which will study and make recommendations regarding Maryland’s film, television, and entertainment industry. The Maryland Entertainment Council was created last year through legislation that altered the Film Production Activity Income Tax Credit, administered by the Maryland Department of Commerce. The Department also houses the Maryland Film Office, which attracts productions to film on-location in the state and supports Maryland’s local film community.
“Intentionality is a choice – and in Maryland, we are very intentional about the industries we want to lead,” said Gov. Moore. “With help from the council’s recommendations, we will position Maryland to lead the entertainment industry, while bringing jobs and opportunity to our state.”
The council, which is staffed by the Maryland Department of Commerce, is led by Meryam Bouadjemi who serves as senior advisor and chair. The council will assess Maryland’s existing assets, opportunities, and competitiveness within the film, television, and entertainment industry, as well as methods and incentive models used by other states to support the infrastructure and workforce surrounding the sector.
The first round of appointees include:
Ruchi Bhowmik is the vice president for public policy at Netflix, where she develops strategy for the company’s relationship with key stakeholders including regulators, non-governmental organizations, and elected leaders in the U.S. and Canada. Previously, she was the global vice chair of public policy at Ernst & Young, and served as a senior advisor to President Barack Obama.
Andy Forssell most recently served as the head of HBO Max at WarnerMedia, responsible for a more than $8 billion annual business. He previously served as the chief operating officer of Otter Media through its successful sale to AT&T and as chief executive officer of Showyou, a video aggregation service that was sold to Vevo in 2015, and spent nearly seven years at Hulu, where he established and led the programming business.
Renard Jenkins currently serves as president of the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers. He sits on the board of the Hollywood Professionals Association and the Advisory Board of Exceptional Minds. He is a recipient of numerous awards, including two national Emmys, a Peabody, two Headliners, and a 2020 Broadcasting and Cable Technology Leadership award.
David O’Ferrall is the business agent for International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 487, the Mid Atlantic Studio Mechanics and Broadcast Technicians union that represents the craftspeople who work on the technical side of motion pictures, television production, and broadcast sports in the region. His responsibilities include negotiating agreements, enforcing those agreements, assisting productions in crewing, and engaging the state legislatures on issues important to the industry such as film and television incentives.
Sumi Parekh is the executive director for the Group Effort Initiative, an organization launched and financed by Ryan Reynolds and Blake Lively that exists to create a pipeline for members of underrepresented communities to get real experience towards lasting careers within the entertainment industry. To date, the initiative has secured more than 1,230 entertainment jobs for its participants.
Judee Ann Williams is the global head of impact across CAA Sports at leading entertainment and sports agency Creative Artists Agency. She is also the global lead of CAA Social Impact, a strategic consulting team that sits at the intersection of the agency’s deeply experienced brand consulting and highly connected foundation groups. During the Obama Administration, she supported the entertainment councils for both the White House and United Service Organizations.
The council has submitted a preliminary report to the General Assembly, which includes an initial assessment of Maryland’s current position in the industry, a review of its economic impact to date, and areas of interest to explore further. The report can be viewed here.
About Maryland Commerce
The Maryland Department of Commerce stimulates private investment and creates jobs by attracting new businesses, encouraging the expansion and retention of existing companies, and providing financial assistance to Maryland companies. The Department promotes the State’s many economic advantages and markets local products and services at home and abroad to spur economic development and international investment, trade and tourism. Because they are major economic generators, the Department also supports the arts, film production, sports and other special events. For more information, visit commerce.maryland.gov.