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The Association of Film Commissioners International, better known as AFCI, has found a new president.
Kevin “KJ” Jennings, the former head of one of New Zealand’s regional film commissions, will replace Jess Conoplia, who joined AFCI’s leadership team in 2017 but has stepped down from her role as president to pursue other opportunities within the film and TV production industry.
Jennings’ appointment as president marks a return to AFCI, where he was a longtime member and served as board chair from 2016 to 2019. He takes the helm after serving for 13 years as executive manager of Film Otago Southland in New Zealand, where he helped raise the country’s profile as an international filming destination and make entertainment production a major contributor to the nation’s economy.
Notable projects that filmed in Jenning’s region in recent years include big-budget studio features like Mulan, Mission: Impossible – Fallout and The Hobbit. Under Jennings’ leadership, Film Otago Southland earned the 2019 “Outstanding Film Commission” award from the Location Managers Guild International.
“KJ brings the experience, expertise and connections required to lead AFCI into 2021 and the post-COVID world,” said AFCI board chair and Buffalo Niagara film commissioner Tim Clark. “He understands our organization and is committed to helping members work more closely with content creators and policymakers.”
One of Jennings’ immediate priorities will be to expand AFCI’s COVID-19 Global Production Alert resource, which provides the industry with updated information on pandemic-related policies worldwide.
“I’m excited to lead AFCI through this uniquely challenging time,” added Jennings. “Jess Conoplia did a remarkable job transforming AFCI, building our member community and helping film commissioners become more relevant to industry decision makers. I look forward to building on her success.”
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