Jill Simpson has announced she is stepping down as director of the Oklahoma Film & Music Office after 10 years. Her last day will be Friday.
“We can likely all agree that it has been a challenging and sometimes tumultuous decade, but it has also been a period of significant progress and growth for our Oklahoma industries,” Simpson said in a news release. “The progress has been hard won for all of us.”
Simpson, who grew up in Norman, worked on films while in Hollywood including “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off,” “Gardens of Stone,” “Stand by Me” and “Real Genius.” She has worked in film for more than 30 years and even wrangled 300 extras in Tulsa for the filming of Francis Ford Coppola’s “Rumblefish” in the 1980s.
The release said Simpson has accepted a job in the academic realm.
Film rebate put to use
Oklahoma recently extended its film rebate for an additional 10 years.
In 2013, The Oklahoman spoke with “August: Osage County” director John Wells about shooting in Oklahoma and how instrumental Simpson was in helping “producers and location scouts find ideal places to shoot the film.”
“August: Osage County” also benefited from the state’s Film Enhancement Rebate Program, in which a 35 percent rebate is paid to a film project on all production expenditures it makes in Oklahoma, or 37 percent if music by Oklahoma artists is included in the soundtrack. John Fullbright and Kings of Leon songs are featured in the film.
“Fortunately in Oklahoma, Jill Simpson and everyone at the film commission had the means to get us to come here,” Wells said in the 2013 interview. “Jill, very wisely, never let me leave the state.”
The film and music office also has been involved in the Buffalo Lounge at South by Southwest and the Oklahoma Music Guide.
Tava Sofsky will take over as the Oklahoma Film & Music Office’s new director on Monday. She is an Oklahoma native who spent many years in Los Angeles working on film and commercial productions before returning to the state last year.
Her credits include “The Mask of Zorro,” “The Fast and the Furious,” “Beyond Borders,” “Drop Zone” and “Jack.”
“Tava brings a wealth of knowledge and expertise to the agency,” said Deby Snodgrass, cabinet secretary and executive director of the Oklahoma Tourism and Recreation Department. “She has the experience needed to carry on the work of Jill Simpson who, over the course of her 10-year tenure, has grown the film and music industries into viable economic generators for the state.”
“Being an Oklahoma native, in addition to many years of working in the film industry, has brought me full circle,” Sofsky said. “It will be an honor to join to Oklahoma Film & Music Office and it is my privilege to carry the baton from Jill Simpson.”
Fortunately in Oklahoma, Jill Simpson and everyone at the film commission had the means to get us to come here. Jill, very wisely, never let me leave the state.”
director John Wells,