(CBS) — The transition from Democratic to Republican control of the Governor’s office has claimed the head of the Illinois Film Office.
Betsy Steinberg, an appointee of former Gov. Pat Quinn, leaves her post Friday. CBS 2 Chief Correspondent Jay Levine talks with her about her seven-year tenure.
She’s taking the high road, saying a change of administration usually brings a whole new crop of agency and department heads. But those who know the film business and how it’s grown under Steinberg call it a huge loss.
Few know more about the industry than the Chicago Film Festival founder Michael Kutza. He says it’s not only the movies but the Hollywood-style movie sets on the near South Side, which is home to a number of network TV series.
“The local spend for one season of a television show is twice what a blockbuster movie would be,” Steinberg says.
She helped make Cinestage Chicago a reality, as well as working to change the tax laws. That has made Chicago an even more attractive setting for producers than it was in 2007, when the Batman movie “The Dark Knight” put Chicago on the 21st-century Hollywood map.
“`The Dark Knight,’ was like having a $100 million commercial for what Chicago could handle,” Steinberg says. “That was a huge calling card for me in Los Angeles.”
Since then, Hollywood’s shot in the arm for Illinois’ economy has more than doubled – from $155 million in 2007, her first year, to $358 million in 2013.
Kutza says her departure is a loss.
“I don’t understand politics,” he says. “I would personally keep this lady around because she knows everything … She’s a jewel.”
Illinois’ new governor, Bruce Rauner, says his administration is making room for new people in top positions, but some former appointees may be rehired by his office.