Jaclyn Philpott has been named executive director of the Association of Film Commissioners International – a newly created post that she’ll assume on January 3. As the new leader of the organization, she succeeds former AFCI President Eve Honthaner, who stepped down in September for personal reasons.
“I am honored to be selected as AFCI’s new executive director and excited for the opportunity to work closely with our members across the world to build on the accomplishments of those who came before me. The screen sector is at a turning point in history, and I see significant opportunities for growth and collaboration,” said Philpott, a native of New Zealand. “There is a Māori proverb that states, ‘He Waka Eke Noa,’ which translates into: ‘We are all in this together. We rise together, fall together, work together and keep going together.’”
In her new position, Philpott will relocate to Los Angeles where AFCI is headquartered, focusing on growing what is already the most geographically and culturally diverse membership roster in the organization’s nearly 50-year history. A key focus, AFCI said in a statement, “will be helping film commissions work with government policymakers to recognize the positive impact a vibrant screen sector has on regional economic and cultural development, job creation and tourism. Her other immediate goals include expanding education and diversity awareness to empower AFCI members to create effective programs in their regions.”
Philpott most recently worked with New Zealand’s largest economic and cultural development agency – Tātaki Auckland Unlimited – to co-create and produce the Auckland’s Future, Now economic development conference, which focused on the impact of Covid-19 and expanding collaboration between private and public sectors. She also developed business programs for the Tripartite Economic Alliance, the 36th Americas Cup and the World Masters Games.
Other projects she’s worked on include developing the award-winning Invest Auckland website and marketing/PR campaigns for Screen Auckland’s involvement at the Toronto International Film Festival and Techweek New Zealand. She also led ongoing marketing efforts for Screen Auckland and worked with regional film offices across New Zealand.
Her appointment follows an extensive worldwide search that included more than 120 candidates. “We have selected an accomplished professional with the skills and global experience needed to lead AFCI to success,” said Bas van der Ree, AFCI Board Chair and Netherlands Film Commissioner. “Jaclyn will collaborate with our global members, production industry leaders and government policymakers to make AFCI an even more valued resource.”
“After a successful search that included candidates from around the globe, I look forward to Jaclyn bringing a new strategic direction that will serve AFCI well over the next decade,” said Michael Walbrecht, AFCI advisory board member and Warner Bros. Discovery vice president of public affairs. “Productions rely on well-trained film commissions, and AFCI is at the forefront of ensuring commissions are prepared to handle projects – both large and small – in their jurisdictions.”
Founded in 1975, AFCI provides advocacy, connectivity and education for film commissions and businesses in the screen sector to foster economic growth in an inclusive and sustainable manner. It also produces two signature events each year – AFCI Week and Cineposium – that draw attendees, speakers and exhibitors from around the world.