The New York City Mayor’s Office of Media and Entertainment (MOME) is going all out to celebrate the 50th anniversary of what was originally the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting.
At a ceremony Wednesday at Queens’ Museum of the Moving Image, Mayor Bill de Blasio named a number of high-profile figures across the entertainment industry as MOME ambassadors. Lady Gaga, Alicia Keys, John Leguizamo, Robert De Niro and Jane Rosenthal were all appointed as ambassadors, with the latter four on hand for the announcement. All five ambassadors will serve as representatives of the city’s media and entertainment industries for the next year, promoting individual contributions to the city’s cultural identity and economy.
“New York City becomes a character all its own in the films and television shows that are made here,” de Blasio said Wednesday. “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. I thank our MOME ambassadors for helping us ring in this spectacular year of events, and look forward to sharing in these celebrations with New Yorkers in all five boroughs.”
As part of its 50th anniversary, MOME also is presenting events throughout the city, 50 of which will be free to the public. One of those “50-for-50” events will be a co-produced “Made in NY” talk with The Hollywood Reporter as part of THR’s “TV Talks” series with actors and showrunners from popular series taking place this fall at the 92nd Street Y. THR is one of the signature sponsors of MOME’s 50th anniversary initiative.
Other “50-for-50” events include free film screenings in city parks, with iconic movies from each decade starting in the 1960s. MOME also will partner with the NY Comedy Festival on master classes in which New York comedians will return to their public high schools to speak to students.
Additional Made in NY talks will take place at the Paley Center for Media as part of its PaleyFest and elsewhere over the year, including ones with film and industry professionals at the Museum of the Moving Image in the fall.
Other 50th anniversary initiatives include distributing more than 1,000 free tickets to Broadway shows for NYCHA residents, an effort to allow families across the five boroughs to attend feature films free of charge in theaters during the month of August and free Broadway performances in each borough.
“Fifty years after the formation of the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting, the prospects for New York City’s film and TV industry have never looked brighter,” said MOME commissioner Julie Menin. “The industry generates nearly $9 billion annually for the City’s economy — up 21 percent from just four years ago — and employs over 130,000 hardworking New Yorkers with good-paying jobs. We are thrilled to present this year of events and initiatives aimed at exposing New Yorkers from all backgrounds to everything that the media and entertainment sectors have to offer.”
Said Rosenthal: “I am proud to be among MOME’s 50th Anniversary Ambassadors. I fell in love with New York through the movies. I have had the privilege of producing movies and TV in New York for over 30 years. After 9/11 when the city was in its darkest moment, it was the movies that helped create a new memory through the Tribeca Film Festival which over the last 15 years has generated an economic impact of over 900 million dollars to Lower Manhattan.”
Said De Niro: “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. I feel fortunate every time I get to make a movie here. I want to congratulate Julie Menin and the Mayor’s Office of Film, Theatre and Broadcasting on continuing a 50-year legacy of supporting storytelling in our great city.”
Said Keys: “Growing up in New York City, I was inspired by the energy and creativity of the people and places all around me. Attending public schools provided me a phenomenal foundation for my career in music and gave me an understanding of the diversity there is in the world. 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 multi-cultural entertainment industry, and I’m glad to share this moment with New Yorkers from all backgrounds.”
Said Leguizamo: “Throughout my career in film and theater, my work has been deeply influenced by my upbringing as an immigrant in Queens. The experiences I had in and around my neighborhood as a kid shaped the way I think about the world and express myself through art. Having received a Made in NY award back in 2011, I am grateful to once again receive an honor from MOME during this landmark year — and to help share these 50th anniversary celebrations with all New Yorkers.”
This article originally appeared in THR.com.