As the diversity of the film industry continues to grow, 25-year industry veteran Amoaku is the first African-American to head up this vital role.
The Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) recently announced Kwame Amoaku as Director of the Chicago Film Office. Amoaku replaces longtime director, Rich Moskal, who retired last November. Amoaku is an experienced film industry executive and the first African American to hold this position, which reflects the growing diversity of the local industry.
“Chicago’s film industry is thriving and shows no signs of slowing down as we continue to welcome more new TV and movie projects to film in our iconic city neighborhoods every year,” said DCASE Commissioner Mark Kelly. “Kwame Amoaku is a highly respected member of our own film community who has proven he is ready to advance the production of film and media in Chicago, creating jobs for our communities and spurring new economic activity for all of Chicago.”
Amoaku brings 25 years of experience in the film industry as an executive producer, director, assistant director, production manager, location manager, actor and writer. Prior to joining the Chicago Film Office, Amoaku was location manager for the NBC series, “Chicago Fire” (since 2014) and for the Netflix movie based on Chicago’s hip-hop scene, “Beats” (2019). His acting credits include “Chicago Fire,” “ER” and “Prison Break.” He attended Southern Illinois University.
“I’m honored to join Chicago in this pivotal role to showcase the talent, creativity and beauty found here,” said Amoaku. “The entire city is a show-stopping stage for amazing productions in both TV and movies and I’m excited to lead this office and continue to bring significant projects that impact Chicago both artistically and economically.”
The City of Chicago partners with the Illinois Film Office to award a 30 percent tax credit for film, television and advertising productions that can demonstrate qualified expenditures on local crew, goods and services. According to recent data, projects in 2018 employed 13,848 non-extra job hires and generated more than $282 million in wages. Women and minority hires made up 46 percent of reported crew employees. Last year alone, 520 film and media projects took place in Chicago, resulting in an estimated all-time high $474 million local economic impact, according to data from the State of Illinois.
The Chicago Film Office, part of DCASE, leads the City’s efforts to attract and enhance the production of feature films, television series, commercials, documentaries and all forms of local screen entertainment. For filmmakers, it is a one-stop liaison for all City of Chicago production needs, including permits, City services and logistical support.