Photo courtesy of Instagram/Museum of Moving Image

Several A-listers joined Mayor Bill de Blasio in Astoria on Wednesday to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.

Alicia Keys, John Leguizamo, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal attended the event at the Museum of the Moving Image and were named Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) Ambassadors by the mayor.

Over the next 12 months, MOME’s Ambassadors will serve as representatives of the city’s media and entertainment industries, promoting the contributions of artists, entertainers and professionals.

“New York City becomes a character all its own in the films and television shows that are made here,” de Blasio said. “This landmark anniversary is an opportunity to look back and delight in all of the incredible cultural moments that the entertainment industry here in New York has made possible.”

The Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting was created by former Mayor John Lindsay in 1966. The office now brings in nearly $9 billion to the city — up 21 percent from four years ago, with this past season shattering records for film and television production completed in the five boroughs.

Prior to the creation of Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, filming in New York City was complex and tedious. Producers were often required to obtain up to 50 permits to film projects and officials would sometimes block access to popular locations because of a film’s subject matter.

Mayor Lindsay created the official film commission to offer one-stop permits and expedite requests from production companies, making the production process easier.

According to a press release, Mayor Lindsay wrote an open letter to the public to explain the reasons for encouraging New York-based production.

“Each additional feature film or commercial television show means additional jobs for New York residents,” he wrote. “Additional jobs means a healthier economy. And a healthier economy means a healthier city.”

De Niro, who started a production company called TriBeCa Productions in 1989, said he based his company here because of the opportunities the city affords.

“I grew up in New York — I chose to launch my production company here because there is no better setting than New York for your film, no better city to shoot in than New York,” De Niro said. “I feel fortunate every time I get to make a movie here.”

To celebrate the 50th anniversary, de Blasio and Commissioner of the Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment Julie Menin announced several new initiatives that will give New Yorkers free access to music, Broadway shows and more.

Initiatives include “50 for 50,” which will bring 50 free events to provide an inside look into the New York entertainment industry; “Access Broadway,” to provide more than 1,000 free tickets to Broadway shows for NYCHA residents, or “MOME Movie Matinees,” which will provide more than 1,000 low-income families with feature films free of charge in August and more.

“Growing up in New York City, I was inspired by the energy and creativity of the people and places all around me,” Keys said in a statement. “I’m excited to be an ambassador for MOME this year and support them as they give back to the city’s diverse communities by presenting free events in the outer boroughs in the coming months. This is a great time to be a part of New York’s rich and multicultural entertainment industry, and I’m glad to share this moment with New Yorkers from all backgrounds.”

For more information on MOME initiatives, visit their website here.




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