My Washington: Charles Rivkin, Chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association

by kevin_chaffee

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the film industry and what plans are your members, all the major studios, working on to help it come back?

Like most, the film and television industry has been deeply impacted by the pandemic. We estimate 465,000 jobs have been put at risk and that number doesn’t include hundreds of thousands of jobs we indirectly support. For the last several months, we’ve been working on several fronts to get people back to work safely. We’re advocating for a federal stimulus package to help preserve an iconic American industry that supports 2.5 million U.S. jobs, helps finance 280,000 businesses across the country and pays over $181 billion in wages annually. And we’re advancing other initiatives that help rebuild an industry that’s even stronger than it was before.

How is the MPA helping to alleviate distress of people in the film industry who are likely to be out of work for some time to come?

From the earliest days of the pandemic, our member companies have taken the lead in helping the industry and its workforce through direct aid that we have been working to support through federal, state and local advocacy. Our member studios have provided more than $1 billion to hardship relief funds that provide direct aid to studio employees,
as well as relief to industry partners and unions to ensure a strong workforce is ready to return to work as soon as possible. MPA members also provide resources to teachers and families who are self-distancing at home during this challenging time.

Are any major films being made now?

As of today, there are several productions underway around the world, with more in development. The studios are working very hard and devoting lots of resources to ensuring a safe and healthy return to work so audiences can continue to watch the movies and TV shows they love.

Netflix recently joined the MPA and Apple TV+ is now a member of the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE), your anti-piracy group. Why is that important?

The MPA proudly welcomed Netflix as its newest member in 2019 as a sign of our commitment to advocate on behalf of an industry that is reaching audiences in new and innovative ways. One of those ways is, of course, streaming. I like to say that the MPA is “screen agnostic,” because we advocate on behalf of creators regardless of where they choose to distribute their content. Apple TV+ joining the governing board of the ACE will make our coalition against online piracy even more powerful.

The MPA is justifiably famed for its preview parties and other fun events. How will you celebrate your “big comeback” (to quote Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard)?

It’s an understatement to say that we can’t wait to host the next screening of one of our member’s upcoming films in our recently renovated, state-of-the-art theater in our global headquarters on Black Lives Matter Plaza. We hope to invite guests back as soon as it’s safe and responsible to do so.


My Top Spots

With wonderful service by owner/operator brothers Maziar and Shahab Farivar, Peacock Café (3251 Prospect St. NW) consistently serves some of the best food in Washington.

Just two blocks from the White House, the MPA’s Global Headquarters is very much part of my D.C. and it’s an honor to be located on Black Lives Matter Plaza.

My wife and I order from Fiola Mare (3050 K St. NW) often and the food is always fantastic!

I eat at Joe’s Seafood (750 15th St. NW) a lot, especially when I’m working in the MPA’s downtown office.

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