Pittsburgh Film Office celebrates 20th anniversary of director

Dawn Keezer
Dawn Keezer (Photo courtesy Pittsburgh Film Office)

The Pittsburgh Film Office (PFO) announced today that September 24th marked the 20th year anniversary of director Dawn M. Keezer.
The Pittsburgh Film Office has been in existence since 1990 and Keezer has been only the second director to lead the vital non-profit organization.  Since her tenure began, Keezer successfully brought 94 film and television productions which is an economic return of $635 million to the southwestern Pennsylvania region.
“I am honored to be a part of the Pittsburgh Film Office for 20 years,” said Dawn M. Keezer, director, Pittsburgh Film Office.  “I have enjoyed working with the board of directors, staff, city, county and state officials to bring these vital film productions to the southwestern Pennsylvania region and creating thousands of local jobs.”
Current PFO Board Chairman, Russ Streiner, congratulated Dawn for her 20 years of service.  Streiner was chair of the search committee to find a replacement for outgoing director Robert Curran.  “The search committee conducted a national search and interviewed 156 candidates,” recalled Streiner.  “Dawn was the last person to interview and from the moment she left the room we knew she was the right person to lead the organization.”
When Keezer began working at the PFO the film “Sudden Death” starring Jean-Claude Van Damme was filming.  The Sharon Stone film “Diabolique” was her first film as director.  She convinced the production that a school in the middle of a city neighborhood – Squirrel Hill – could look just like a school in the middle of the French countryside.
Former PFO Board Chairman, Basil Cox, also extended his congratulations to Keezer on this milestone anniversary.  “It was a pleasure serving on the PFO Board of Trustees and working with Dawn during those early years,” said Cox.  “She has paved the way for our local industry and it is great watching the industry continue to grow under her leadership.”
During her tenure, Keezer credits the Film Tax Credits as a huge win for southwestern Pennsylvania and the local film industry.  “Because of the Film Tax Credit program I was able to see a personal goal achieved – a TV series filming in the region,” said Keezer.  The series “Supah Ninjas” and “Those Who Kill” both recently filmed.
Keezer’s vision for the future of the local film industry would be ongoing, sustainable funding for the PFO; a plan to put the local film and entertainment industry at the front of the overall industry; and incorporating all of our regional assets: education programs, technology and traditional filmmaking.
Craig Davis, President & CEO of VisitPITTSBURGH, was also part of the search committee that interviewed Keezer in 1994. “I congratulate Dawn on her 20th anniversary with the Pittsburgh Film Office.  Her work in promoting this region to the film industry has contributed significantly to our local economy,” said Davis. “Dawn put Pittsburgh on the map as a destination for the film industry and we have all benefited from the positive national exposure that she helped garner for the city.”
The Pittsburgh Film Office (PFO) is a non-profit economic development agency dedicated to the mission of marketing the southwestern Pennsylvania region to the film industry. Since 1990, the Pittsburgh Film Office has assisted 128 feature film, television and commercial productions and generated an economic impact of more than $800 million into the region. For every $1 invested in the PFO, the organization is able to generate approximately $160 in new spending. The southwestern Pennsylvania region has been extremely busy since the establishment of a full-time presence in Los Angeles and the Pennsylvania Film Tax Credit program. Recent productions include “Fathers and Daughters” starring Russell Crowe and “Southpaw” starring Jake Gyllenhaal.  The feature film “Kerosene” is now filming in the area. www.pghfilm.org


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