As announced last night, Mayor Murray appointed Kate Becker as the new Director for the City’s Music + Film office. Today she released the following letter to the community and we thought you would like to see:
Hello Film and Music community stakeholders,
It is with tempered excitement that I agreed to step up to the plate to head the phenomenal work of the Office of Film and Music (OFM) that has been led by my respected friend and colleague James Keblas. All of this has happened very quickly, and is causing some fervor and concern in the community.
It is very clear that people have tremendous admiration for James and his legacy, as do I. I have had the good fortune to work with James in multiple capacities over the years. He and I have been in the trenches together, including co-founding the Vera Project with Shannon Stewart in 2000. We have mutual respect for each other, and have supported each other throughout our careers. We continue to do so now as the community hears this news.
One of the most appealing aspects of accepting this appointment is knowing that I’ll be attempting to fill the giant shoes of a highly successful and effective director. His stellar work will be continued by the top notch OFM staff with my full support. With your help, we will take what has been built and advance even further the mission of making Seattle a great place for film and music. While this office has seen tremendous success, there is more that can be done. I look forward to building that with you.
For those who are expressing concern, please know that I am deeply committed to advancing the success of the work that is underway and the work of the future. I have an extensive background in leadership and community organizing, deep music community history, and a lifelong love of film. While I have a degree in filmmaking and history that includes building a media lab and launching a filmmaking program for teenagers, I look forward to meeting and working with many others whom I haven’t met yet.
When I came to work at the City of Seattle ten months ago, James jumped in to support me and help me adapt to new work, new colleagues, and new opportunities. I have complete faith, as well as his commitment, that he will be there for me now as we move through this transition. I am honored to have the good faith and trust invested in me by the Mayor to carry on this work.
I have reviewed the ambitious 2014 work plan of the OFM, and am excited to continue advancing the City of Music and Commercialize Seattle initiatives that are the foundation of Seattle’s unique public/private partnership to support musicians and filmmakers in a highly competitive environment.
I am also honored to oversee the function that coordinates city-wide permitting activities for film, special events, and neighborhood farmers markets. This function is a critical piece of supporting economic development, artistic and cultural expression, first amendment rights, recreation, small businesses, and stronger connections with everyone who lives and works in, and visits, Seattle. I look forward to bringing my consensus building skills to find common ground to improve the quality of all these events, and broaden support for, and understanding of them, across government and the public.
Ultimately, the most important thing is carrying the good work of the OFM forward while addressing new issues and advancing new ideas generated by the film and music community. I look forward to doing this in partnership with the excellent and accomplished OFM staff and you.
There will be multiple celebrations of James and his incredible achievements and everyone will be invited. I look forward to celebrating with you.