Gov. Linda Lingle has named former Kaua‘i Film Commissioner Judy Drosd as head of the newly-formed state Arts, Film and Entertainment Division.
The office is part of the state Department of Business Economic Development and Tourism.
Drosd served as Kaua‘i County’s film commissioner for 10 years, working in the county’s Office of Economic Development. She brought millions of dollars in film location production work to Kaua‘i by attracting the making of major Hollywood films, as well as hundreds of TV commercials and still photo shoots for magazines and other publications.
Among the films made with Drosd’s assistance were director Steven Spielberg’s “Jurassic Park” series and actor Harrison Ford’s “Six Days/Seven Nights” romantic comedy.
Prior to coming to Kaua‘i Drosd was a vice-president for Home Box Office, heading up East Coast production of feature films, television series, documentaries, live entertainment specials and sporting events.
While serving as Kaua‘i’s film commissioner, she raised annual production revenues from $4.5 million to $11.4 million and tripled the number of film projects using Kaua‘i as a location each year.
She also initiated and produced in the mid-1990s several digital media conferences on Kaua‘i sponsored by Apple Computer and Adobe Systems that drew top digital producers, artists and musicians from across the world.
“We are fortunate that Judy will be joining us to lead this effort to develop what is a very promising sector of the state’s economy,” Lingle said in a prepared statement announcing Drosd’s appointment.
Drosd’s duties now include supervising the Hawaii Film Office, managed by Donne Dawson, and the Arts & Culture Development Branch, managed by David Nada.
“I believe that cultural life is the heartbeat of any locale,” Drosd said of her appointment. “It is a magnetic force that provides excitement as well as a sense of cohesion and community. Ultimately, arts and culture define the personality of a place. And, as such, attract people from near and far. Film arts, fine arts, performance arts, design, and all varieties of entertainment are significant economic drivers in any community in which they are allowed to thrive. They create their own workforce and generate considerable revenues.”
“From our perspective, we’re anxious to boost the visibility and economic viability of Hawai‘i’s cultural marketplace, to grow an internationally recognized film, television and digital arts industry, and foster an arts and culture industry that is a vibrant and sustainable sector of Hawai‘i’s economy,” said DBEDT director Ted Liu.
Drosd’s first objective is to develop a strategic plan that encompasses Hawai‘i’s arts, culture and entertainment assets, and maps out how these areas can be built up to create more jobs and revenues for Hawai‘i.
She holds a degree in Fine Arts from the University of Colorado at Boulder.