SSteven Feinberg receives George M. Cohan Award

Steven Feinberg, Executive Director of the RI Film & TV Office, receives the George M. Cohan Award from the RI International Film Festival

I’m happy to report that our friend and colleague Steven Feinberg, the director of the Rhode Island Film & TV Office, received recognition at last evening’s Rhode Island International Film Festival for his extraordinary work over the past several years in revitalizing the film community here in the Ocean State.

The award, named after famed Providence entertainer George M. Cohan, aims to recognize “outstanding artists whose work, passion and drive epitomizes a level of excellence that reflects creatively on their Rhode Island roots.”

Steven has done that, and more…

Steven has – almost singlehandedly – made the film business a strong and viable part of the Rhode Island economy. Rhode Island was the first New England state to establish a motion picture tax incentive program (the “film tax credit”). It was designed as an incentive to attract business to our state, and it’s been very successful in doing that: for the period from 2005 to 2009 4,184 jobs were created and total economic activity was $465.51 million as a result of state-issued tax credits of $56.7 million, according to Economic Impact of the Motion Picture Tax Credit On the Rhode Island Economy For the Years 2005 – 2009 by Edward M. Mazze, Distinguished University Professor of Business Administration at the University of Rhode Island.

We can look at the series “Brotherhood” or “Body of Proof”, or movies like “Dan in Real Life” or “Evening” or ”27 Dresses” and take pride when we spot Rhode Island locations (even if they’re disguised as other places).

What you don’t see is how hard Steven works to make this happen. It is a constant juggling act, worthy of “Barnum & Bailey”, to keep all the people at the table (or who think they should be at the table) happy and willing to work here rather than somewhere else, where they could actually get more financial “incentives” to move their business to some “non-Rhode Island” location. It’s the personal attention they get from Steven (and from his wonderful staff, Carol Conley and Lew Place) that keeps them here, as much as it is our wonderful and diverse locations.

So, on behalf of all of us here at the Rhode Island State Council on the Arts, we’re pleased and honored to be partners and colleagues with the Rhode Island Film & TV Office, and congratulate Steven on his award.

- Randall Rosenbaum, Executive Director, RISCA