L.A. Deputy Film Czar Quits to Run for State Legislature

Rajiv Dalal - P 2015
Courtesy of Subject

Rajiv Dalal - P 2015

Rajiv Dalal, who announced his resignation from the city job on Wednesday, plans to seek office in the 2016 election.

Is it time for Hollywood to be represented in Sacramento?

Rajiv Dalal, who announced on Wednesday he was resigning as L.A.’s deputy film czar, revealed that he will be a candidate for California’s 43rd Assembly district, which includes numerous entertainment industry businesses and residents in the east end of the San Fernando Valley.

In an election to be held in 2016, Dalal will seek the seat now held by Mike Gatto, a Democrat who will be termed out next year.

In his announcement, Dalal said that his greatest accomplishment while working for the city was helping to push passage of AB 1839, the bill co-authored by Gatto which increased state tax incentives to retain and attract movie and TV production to California from $100 million to $330 million for each of the next five years.

“But we can’t stop there,” said Dalal. “Our industry is in the midst of tremendous change. With new technologies reshaping our business, we need a voice that grasps the future and makes government part of the solution.”

Dalal said it is time the entertainment industry had a voice in the state legislature, where he believes there is a lot of work to be done to educate other legislators.

“Unlike most other industries,” said Dalal, “Hollywood lacks a representative in Sacramento who has worked in our industry and understands our business needs.”

It is unusual for a candidate to be so associated with a single issue. Dalal over time will have to deal with everything from education to transportation and beyond, but at least initially he is unique in his single-minded focus on the entertainment industry.

At a City Hall reception on Wednesday where Dalal revealed he would step down from his current job boosting film and TV production on behalf of the city, L.A. Mayor Eric Garcetti said: “Rajiv has simply been amazing. From helping to engineer passage of the tax credit/jobs bill to setting in place the city’s infrastructure plan, I could not imagine that one man could deliver so much for us — but he did and then some.”

“It takes a unique individual to bring together so many factions of our industry for one common goal,” said John Acosta, vp of the L.A. County Federation of Labor and president of the American Federation of Musicians Local 47. “From small business to labor, Dalal did just that in brokering the film tax credit — leading to 10,000 well-paying film and television crew jobs for Los Angeles.”

Along with the tax credit legislation, Dalal cited other accomplishments while he was at City Hall including launching the Greenlight Hollywood campaign, and putting into place a city infrastructure plan to cut red tape for film/TV productions.

Dalal is also currently the executive director of the Tom Sherak MS Hope Foundation. He was previously an executive director for Time Warner’s corporate affairs division in Asia-Pacific. He was strategic counsel and managing director (India) for the MPAA. He began his legal career at the firm Dorsey & Whitney.

Dalal is married to Divya Khanna Dalal, who is a marketing executive at Disney.

When he was named to The Hollywood Reporter’s Next Gen list in 2014, Dalal cited as his big career break working for Sen. Ted Kennedy on the Senate Judiciary subcommittee when it held hearings on Napster. He said that later led to his work with the MPAA.

He also cited as career milestones negotiating a deal with the Vietnamese to keep CNN in Vietnam and free of censorship; being part of the team that negotiated the WTO settlement with China over theatrical revenue sharing and increasing the number of American movies released there; and helping remove unnecessary taxes placed on American film and TV content entering South Asia.