MAss Film Office

 
 

MASSACHUSETTS FILM OFFICE

Nicholas Paleologos, Executive Director (2007-2010)

























EDITORIAL COMMENTARY


“Nick Paleologos—the accomplished head of the film office--put Massachusetts on the map when it comes to enticing filmmakers to come to the state and invest hundreds of millions of dollars in jobs and related businesses, not to mention the buzz these movies and actors create for Massachusetts. Paleologos, a two-time Tony Award winner who served seven terms in the Massachusetts House, knows his way around Hollywood and the Statehouse, and he used his experience in those two careers to make Massachusetts an attractive destination for movie producers and movie stars.”

---Peter Lucas, LOWELL SUN Columnist  January 4, 2011

"Nick Paleologos, the respected executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office, has won praise for helping the industry expand in Massachusetts."

---BOSTON HERALD   December 25, 2010

“The state’s stunningly successful film office czar Nicholas Paleologos, a veteran producer who also knew his way around Beacon Hill, turned Massachusetts into a favorite destination for Hollywood moguls to shoot their films.”

---Scott Van Voorhis, BANKER & TRADESMAN Columnist, December 18, 2010

“The architect of Massachusetts' rise to movie-making prominence is Nick Paleologos. A two-time Tony Award-winning producer, Paleologos--who also served 14 years as a state lawmaker--is one of the few experts in his field working in government. When Paleologos took over as executive director, the state's film industry took off in earnest. In 2006, two films were made here. By 2009, seventeen major productions were shot in the Bay State, including three movies that are now receiving nominations for top industry honors.  If it weren't for him, Lowell would not be on the silver screen all over the world. Paleologos' record of success will be difficult to match.”

---LOWELL SUN Editorial, December 17, 2010

“The 2010 fall movie season has been a triumph for Massachusetts. Come Oscar time, Bay State residents will watch nominations handed out to films as varied as The Social Network; The Town; The Fighter; and perhaps also the forthcoming The Company Men. The staggering range of stories shows how important the commercial arts can be to promoting local history and identity. The benefits to Massachusetts are immense. These films were all encouraged by the hard-working head of the film office, Nick Paleologos. A former state representative, and a producer himself of award-winning films, Paleologos speaks the language of Hollywood with a Boston accent. His presence, both as a booster of the tax credit and a resource to outside producers, has been essential to putting Massachusetts on the movie-world map.”

---BOSTON GLOBE Editorial, December 14, 2010

PEER COMMENTARY

“During Nick’s 4 years, the state has seen over $1 billion worth of spending in the film and TV industry in the Commonwealth, helping to create jobs and businesses in an otherwise shrinking Massachusetts economy.”

---Massachusetts Production Coalition, December 3, 2010


“A great champion for the industry.”

---Bestor Cram, Executive Producer, Northern Lights Productions

December 3, 2010


Nick is, without a doubt, the most effective, intelligent, and knowledgeable commissioner in the business.”

---Jeff Begun, President, Ease Entertainment

December 3, 2010


“Nick took a mediocre program that had $10 million spend a year, to over $400 million a year.”

---Bruce Deichl, President, Tax Credits LLC

December 3, 2010


“Nick was immensely helpful, and offered one of the best film offices in the country.  He will be missed - by filmmakers and the state of Massachusetts.”

---Kathleen Courtney, Exec VP for Production, MadMedia Entertainment

December 3, 2010


“Nick has been an invaluable friend to the film community. He led the incredible film industry growth we experienced over the past four years and has been a trusted partner in our collective efforts on behalf of our community.”

---Doug Bowen-Flynn, Boston SAG President

---Paul Horn, Boston AFTRA President

December 3, 2010


“Nick Paleologos is the best advocate the film industry in Massachusetts has ever had.”

---Joseph Maiella, President, Massachusetts Production Coalition

January 29, 2010


________________________


THE RECORD:


New film and television production spending in Massachusetts*

(2007-2010)


$1.028 billion

                                                                                                                                


*Source: Mass Dept. of Revenue



NUMBER ONE BOX OFFICE MOVIES MADE IN MASSACHUSETTS*

(2007 - 2010)

GAME PLAN (Walt Disney Pictures) week ending October 14, 2007

21 (Columbia Pictures) week ending April 6, 2008

MALL COP (Columbia Pictures) two weeks ending January 25, 2009

THE PROPOSAL (Touchstone Pictures) week ending July 26, 2009

SHUTTER ISLAND (Paramount Pictures) two weeks ending Feb 28, 2010

THE TOWN (Warner Bros. Pictures) week ending September 19, 2010


THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Columbia Pictures) two weeks ending  October 10, 2010

TED (Universal Pictures) --in development as of December 31, 2010--was also the Number One box office film in the US for the week ending July 1, 2012.


*Source: VARIETY


TOP TEN  U.S. FILM PRODUCTION STATES INCLUDE

MASSACHUSETTS FOR THE FIRST TIME EVER

(2007 - 2010)


MovieMaker Magazine – January 21, 2010

Los Angeles Daily Journal – May 26, 2009

Motion Picture Association of America – April 2009

Production Update (P3) Magazine – December 2008

Production Update (P3) Magazine – July 2007


SIXTEEN ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS

FOR MASSACHUSETTS-MADE FILMS

(2007 - 2010)


THE SOCIAL NETWORK: 

Best Picture

Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg)

Best Director (David Fincher)

WINNER - Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin)

WINNER - Best Original Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)

Best Cinematography (Jeff Cronenweth)

WINNER - Best Editing (Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter)

Best Sound Mixing (Ren Klyce, David Parker, Michael Semanick and Mark Weingarten)


THE FIGHTER:

Best Picture

Best Director (David O. Russell)

WINNER - Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale)

Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams)

WINNER - Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo)

Best Editing (Pamela Martin)

Best Original Screenplay (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson; Story by Keith Dorington, Paul Tamasy and Eric Johnson)


THE TOWN:

Best Supporting Actor (Jeremy Renner).


NINE BRITISH ACADEMY AWARD NOMINATIONS

FOR MASSACHUSETTS-MADE FILMS

(2007 to 2010):



THE SOCIAL NETWORK: 

Best Picture

Best Actor (Jesse Eisenberg)

Best Supporting Actor (Andrew Garfield)

WINNER - Best Director (David Fincher)

WINNER - Best Adapted Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin)

WINNER - Best Editing (Angus Wall and Kirk Baxter)


THE FIGHTER: 

Best Original Screenplay (Scott Silver, Paul Tamasy, Eric Johnson)

Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale)

Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams)


THIRTEEN GOLDEN GLOBE AWARDS NOMINATIONS

FOR MASSACHUSETTS-MADE FILMS

(2007 to 2010):


THE SOCIAL NETWORK: 

WINNER - Best Picture

Best Actor-Drama (Jesse Eisenberg)

Best Supporting Actor (Andrew Garfield)

WINNER - Best Director (David Fincher)

WINNER - Best Screenplay (Aaron Sorkin)

WINNER - Best Original Score (Trent Reznor and Atticus Ross)


THE FIGHTER: 

Best Picture

Best Director (David O. Russell)

Best Actor (Mark Wahlberg)

WINNER - Best Supporting Actor (Christian Bale)

Best Supporting Actress (Amy Adams)

WINNER - Best Supporting Actress (Melissa Leo)


THE TOWN:

Best Supporting Actor-Drama (Jeremy Renner).



MAJOR PRODUCTIONS SHOT IN MASSACHUSETTS

2007 - 2010 (alphabetical listing)


21 (Columbia Pictures) starring Kevin Spacey & Kate Bosworth

AMERICAN IDOL Season 9 Premiere (Fox) TV series episode1

BOSTON’S FINEST (ABC) TV pilot

BRIDE WARS (Fox 2000 Pictures) starring Kate Hudson & Anne Hathaway

BUNKER HILL (WB Network) TV pilot

CHATHAM (Independent) starring David Carradine & Mariel Hemingway

EDGE OF DARKNESS  (Warner Bros) starring Mel Gibson

EXTREME MAKEOVER: Home Edition (ABC) TV series, Season 5, Episode 25

FOUR SINGLE FATHERS  (Independent)

FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS (NBC) TV series, Season 4, Episode 8

FURRY VENGEANCE (Summit Entertainment) starring Brendan Frasier & Brooke Shields

GHOSTS OF GIRLFRIENDS PAST (New Line Cinema) starring Jennifer Garner & Mathew McConaughey

GROWN UPS (Columbia Pictures) starring Adam Sandler, David Spade & Chris Rock

KNIGHT AND DAY (20th Century Fox) starring Tom Cruise & Cameron Diaz

KNOWING (Summit Entertainment) starring Nicholas Cage

MISSION PARK (Independent)

MY BEST FRIEND’S GIRL (Lionsgate) starring Dane Cook & Kate Hudson

PAUL BLART: MALL COP (Columbia Pictures) starring Kevin James

SEE KATE RUN (ABC) TV pilot

SO YOU THINK YOU CAN DANCE (Fox) TV series, Season 6, Episode 3

SHUTTER ISLAND (Paramount Pictures) starring Leonardo DiCaprio & Ben Kingsley

THE BOX (Warner Bros) starring Cameron Diaz & Frank Langella

THE COMPANY MEN (The Weinstein Co.) starring Kevin Costner & Ben Affleck

THE FIGHTER (Paramount Pictures) starring Mark Wahlberg, Christian Bale & Amy Adams

THE GREAT DEBATERS (MGM) starring Denzel Washington

THE INVENTION OF LYING (Warner Bros) starring Ricky Gervais & Jennifer Garner

THE JONESES (Independent)

THE LAST HARBOR (Independent)

THE LIGHTKEEPERS (Independent) starring Richard Dreyfus & Blythe Danner

THE MAIDEN HEIST (Sony Pictures dvd) starring Christopher Walken, Morgan Freeman & Marcia Gay Harden

THE PHONE (MTV) TV series, Season 1, Episode 3

THE PINK PANTHER 2 (Columbia Pictures) starring Steve Martin & Lily Tomlin

THE PROPOSAL (Walt Disney Pictures) starring Sandra Bullock & Ryan Reynolds

THE QUINN-TUPLETS (CBS) TV pilot

THE SOCIAL NETWORK (Columbia Pictures) starring Justin Timberlake

THE SURROGATES (Walt Disney Pictures) starring Bruce Willis

THE TOWN (Warner Bros) starring Jon Hamm & Ben Affleck

THE WAR IN 04 (Spike TV) TV pilot

THE WOMEN (Picturehouse Entertainment) starring Meg Ryan & Annette Bening

VALEDICTION (Independent)

WHAT DOESN’T KILL YOU (Yari Films) starring Mark Ruffalo, Ethan Hawke & Amanda Peet

WHAT’S YOUR NUMBER? (New Regency) starring Anna Farris & Chris Evans

WHEEL OF FORTUNE – HISTORIC BOSTON WEEK (Sony Television) TV series

ZOOKEEPER (Sony Pictures) starring Kevin James


Ready for our close up    Boston Herald Editorial-- May 18, 2007


“Two thumbs-up to state officials who now recognize that they can play more than a cameo role in drawing big-screen blockbusters to film in the Bay State.


Building on the success of a 2005 initiative, Gov. Patrick, Senate President Murray and House Speaker DiMasi yesterday announced agreement on a bill that would expand the tax incentives that are currently made available to film producers who shoot in the Bay State.


Who knows? Maybe they’re angling for bit parts in the next “Pink Panther” movie (which now has a better shot at filming here).


More likely they’re just heeding the advice of the state’s new film czar, Nick Paleologos, that to realize the greatest economic benefit the state must attract bigger-budget features.


And to do that we must compete with states that are more proactive . . . and that can easily be made to look like Massachusetts.


The bill increases the percentage of a film’s payroll that qualifies for a tax credit from 20 to 25 percent, and continues to allow a 25 percent credit for other production costs. It also lifts the $7 million cap on overall credits, leveling the playing field with Rhode Island and Connecticut.


The swift action speaks well of Paleologos’ connections both in La-La Land (the changes were recommended to him directly by film producers) and on Beacon Hill. What a difference having a grownup in charge makes.”


_________________________________















Former legislator and producer Nicholas Paleologos,

here at the Feb. 25 Oscar bash at the State Room,

is the new executive director of the revived Massachusetts

Film Office. (Bill Brett for the Boston Globe)



One for the home team

After five years of uncertainty, the state finally has

a champion in Nicholas Paleologos


By Leslie Brokaw, Boston Globe  |  March 4, 2007

OK, so "The Departed" has made Boston the movie world's city-of-the-moment, with an armful of Oscars including best picture bestowed last Sunday on the film, which was set in Boston and partially shot here.

For the film community here, the big question is: Can we get another like that, please?

The answer: Chances are actually pretty good. They're certainly better today than they were six weeks ago.

The reason: Nicholas Paleologos -- movie producer, former legislator, and now chief marketer for the Massachusetts film industry.

After years of confusion over whom Hollywood studios and small filmmakers should approach if they want to do business in the state, Paleologos was hired in late January to be the executive director of the newly revived Massachusetts Film Office. For the first time in five years, the state has a designated point person charged with soliciting film business and paving the way to make things happen. With the new buzz for "The Departed," Paleologos's job will be to keep the state in the cinematic spotlight.

With his appointment, Paleologos becomes a key to what Governor Deval Patrick calls the state's "creative economy."

"This is an opportunity," says Paleologos, "to grow an industry that could be in the hundreds of millions of dollars."

The Massachusetts native is an industry insider in several senses of the phrase. He was a state legislator from 1976 to 1990, so he knows Beacon Hill. He produced "Ghosts of Mississippi," "Hurlyburly," and HBO's "In the Gloaming," so he knows Hollywood. He serves on the advisory council of the Coolidge Corner Theatre in Brookline, so he knows local film activism.

He also has deep roots in theater, having brought "I Love You, You're Perfect, Now Change" to Boston's Stuart Street Playhouse, and a revival of Noel Coward's "Private Lives" to Broadway. That last one won him a Tony Award.

His appointment can only be good for the state film industry. While the number of film-related jobs increased in Massachusetts in the early 1990s, the number stayed flat through the end of the decade, and then declined every year between 2000 and 2004.

Citing the US Bureau of Labor Statistics, a report last May from the new Massachusetts consortium Alliance for Independent Motion Media noted that only 1,622 people had full-time film production employment in Massachusetts in 2004. That's less than 1 percent of the 222,495 jobs nationally.

The drop coincided with the collapse of the last state film bureau, which had its state funding eliminated in 2002. Its former head, Robin Dawson, went on to establish an independent Massachusetts Film Bureau. With the reemergence of a state-funded office, that operation will shut down (Dawson terms it a "merging") to allow the state to present a single face to the world.

The new film office is part of the Massachusetts Sports & Entertainment Commission, a private nonprofit that has $1.2 million in state funding for the current fiscal year. The commission has mostly focused on bringing sport events like last year's NCAA Women's Final Four basketball tournament to the state.

Paleologos's job is to make the process of shooting in the state easier for small films and to get more Hollywood movies shot here, like last year's "The Game Plan" and "Gone, Baby, Gone."

He's already started laying pipe, traveling for three days last month to Los Angeles for meetings with senior production executives at Disney, Warner Brothers, Paramount, Walden Entertainment, and HBO.

"I want frank, off-the-record, unvarnished conversations," he says. He's planning follow-ups to the initial meetings over the next month.

Joe Maiella, president of the Massachusetts Production Coalition , a group that formed during the five-year vacuum of state leadership, says Paleologos's appointment finally gives the film community the structure it has been craving.

"When you open up a trade magazine, you see page upon page of advertisements by local film offices to 'come shoot in Arizona' or 'come shoot in Louisiana,' " Maiella says. "It's a wide-open marketing landscape right now."

Part of the film office's arsenal in soliciting business is a package of aggressive tax credits that were enacted at the end of 2005 to sweeten the deal of doing business here. The credits were designed to counter the lower wage rates and tax incentives provided by other countries, especially Canada.

Many give the nod to the legislation for bringing Disney's "The Game Plan" to Boston.

Paleologos says he'll also be addressing questions about the union climate in the state.

"If there's one perception that keeps popping up, it's that 'the union situation is a problem,' " he says.

Unions involved in the film industry include American Federation of Television and Radio Artists, Screen Actors Guild, International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees, and the Teamsters, and Paleologos spent his first week meeting with their local leaders.

One is Chris O'Donnell, business manager for Local 481 Studio Mechanics of IATSE, which represents film technicians. O'Donnell says the tax credits have already made a difference for his group.

"Our Massachusetts membership increased 25 percent in the last year, and the amount that they made increased 50 percent between 2005 and 2006," he says .

O'Donnell describes Paleologos as a "very good choice" for the job.

"It took the tax incentive to make [film work] come back," O'Donnell says. To build momentum, "it's going to be critical to go out, possibly with a trade mission involving members of labor, including myself if necessary, to meet with studios and help heal any past relationships. That's a perception issue that the film office really can help with. There's a huge opportunity -- one I wish we had taken a year ago when the tax law first went into effect, but better now than never."

There are other signs of new traction. Ed Peselman launched his production company, Gray Matter Entertainment, in Watertown last year instead of in Los Angeles largely because of the tax incentives.

"I envision a lot of my projects produced here in Boston," says Peselman, who helped develop the television show "Queer Eye for the Straight Guy" with Scout Productions when that company was based in Allston (it's now headquartered in Los Angeles).

"I always wanted to do them here, but it takes a certain level of clout to do that if the economics didn't make sense. Now the economics make sense," he says.

There are wide hopes that Paleologos has the right connections and personality to give Massachusetts a big pop.

"The fact that they've put a high - level individual in that position speaks volumes for the great things that can come," says Julie Burns, director of the Mayor of Boston's Office of Arts, Tourism and Special Events.

The Massachusetts Production Coalition's Maiella, who with his wife runs CrewStar, a production crew and payroll company in Southboro, agrees.

"Nick is very professional, he's got a service mentality, and he's well-regarded by all of the constituency," Maiella says. "It's difficult to find someone with the portfolio of industry, legislative, and marketing experience, but he clearly has those traits across the board."

Paleologos started out in public service when he was a 19-year old-undergraduate at Tufts University and got elected to the Woburn School Committee .

"It was the early '70s," he says. "My high school graduating class of 1971 was right on the tail end of a lot of political activism and the end of the war, and I carried that activism."

His most recent film project -- "probably my last film for a while," he says -- is a documentary about US Supreme Court justice Louis Brandeis. Paleologos lives in Concord with his wife, Patti Worth, and three children.

As for his new role, he's approaching it as the ultimate executive producer, focusing on lining up resources so they work together in something like harmony.

"A lot of the ground work has already been laid," he says. "At this stage, I feel really optimistic. I don't feel like I've got obstacles; I feel like I've got a lot of partners who are genuinely enthusiastic about making this work."

_____________________

The Mayor of Hollywood East

Where show business and state business meet,

you can find Tufts graduate Nick Paleologos.

by Georgiana Cohen, Tufts University Office of Web Communications  September 29, 2008

Like any good film plot, Nick Paleologos' story has conflict. Consider this scene: Upon graduating from Tufts in 1975, Paleologos had already been serving on the School Committee in his hometown of Woburn, Mass. for the past two years. For the politically minded Paleologos—the youngest person ever elected to the position—everything seemed to be falling into place. Until the fall, when his re-election bid fell short.

That same fall, Paleologos had begun attending Suffolk Law School in downtown Boston. But he kept replaying the School Committee loss in his head. If only he had another chance, he thought, to explain himself better to voters. So, in a plot twist, Paleologos decided to take one and run for state representative in his home district.

His mother, calling the School Committee loss a "devastating experience," did not initially think it was the best idea. "I think she, more than anything, felt badly for me," says Paleologos. She asked him how many times he would face defeat before getting the message.

As it turned out, that was the last time. Upon winning election in 1976—just a year after graduating from Tufts—he held office until 1990, advocating for education reform and toxic waste cleanup.

But that's only half the story. While Paleologos amassed an impressive legislative resume by day, he was producing plays by night, building on a love of theatre cultivated in a community theatre troupe he joined while in college. Films were thrown into the mix, too, and after he left the Massachusetts State House, his producing career blossomed. In time, the prefaces "Emmy-winning" and "Tony-winning" could be seen before Paleologos' name.

So where is our protagonist now? Hollywood? Sort of. Try "Hollywood East," as Massachusetts is known nowadays. The nickname comes from the hundreds of millions of dollars in film studio investment that Paleologos has helped attract in the past two years as executive director of the Massachusetts Film Office, a position where he blends his political prowess with his showbiz savvy.

It's a role for which Paleologos knows he is uniquely qualified. His story could have no more fitting resolution.

"If there were ever a job that you had to go out to central casting and find someone it was perfect for," Paleologos admits, it was this one.

A Political Animal

From the beginning, there were two sides to Nick Paleologos. Living in Woburn as a commuter student, he was traipsing in the footlights as a member of the Woburn Drama Guild, a community theatre troupe he and some friends founded. They staged plays ranging from "The Odd Couple" to "Inherit the Wind." "We had a ball," recalls Paleologos.

But back on campus, he was a political science major with an eye on a career in law. After canvassing for George McGovern in New Hampshire with fellow Tufts students, he was looking forward to casting his first vote in the 1972 presidential election, thanks to the 26th amendment lowering the national voting age to 18 in 1971.

On election night, Paleologos and his friends were huddled in a dorm room, armed with a pile of food and clipboards, marking which states were likely wins and which were swing states. As it turned out, only Massachusetts went for McGovern, with Richard Nixon carrying every other state.

While it was a depressing evening for Paleologos, the experience left him no less energized to get politically involved. Living at home had set him up to pursue his first political office: a seat on the Woburn School Committee.

"Running the following year for school committee was almost kind of an extension of that spirit of involvement," says Paleologos, who ran for office while still at Tufts. "If you want to change things, you've got to roll up your sleeves and get involved."

When he plotted his run for state representative following his 1975 defeat, Paleologos took a mathematical approach. In March of 1976, he took a map of the district and colored in the streets as he walked down them, talking to voters. By September, the entire district was colored in, so he went back to reconnect with voters who were undecided.

Analyzing past election results, Paleologos figured he needed at least 2,000 votes to win, so he made sure to identify at least 2,000 supporters. On Election Day, Paleologos got 2,120 votes, "and it was enough to win."

From the State House to a Full House

In the legislature, he joined the Education Committee, building on his earlier experience in the Woburn School Committee. There, he advocated for education reform that didn't deprive students of opportunities to pursue the arts.

"Kids come to school with a natural curiosity. If you can manage not to beat it out of them in the 12 years that you have them, then you've accomplished something really special."

In the 14 years that Paleologos was at the State House, he accomplished a great deal. He received six separate "Legislator of the Year" honors from groups like the Massachusetts Cultural Alliance and the Massachusetts Association of School Committees and authored legislation addressing toxic waste, performing arts in the schools and other educational issues.

That, however, was only by day. By night, Paleologos was still pursuing the love for theatre he had cultivated with the Woburn Drama Guild. In 1977, just a year into his stint as a legislator, an old friend from the Guild came to Paleologos with a crazy idea: to produce plays just like they did in Woburn, but do it professionally.

Why not? So Paleologos spent his evenings down the street from the State House at the Charles Street Playhouse, learning the ropes of the producing world. Soon, he went from producing plays in Boston to staging them in New York.

"What started off for me as something I thought would be an interesting hobby to do on the side, convenient because it wasn't far from where I was working, suddenly started to mushroom into what looked like it could be a career," says Paleologos.

When 1990 rolled around and a bid to become lieutenant governor was unsuccessful, he decided to step out of the public sphere.

"I had done everything I was ever going to do. I stayed much longer than I ever thought I was going to stay," he says. Paleologos decided to focus his energies on producing, work that had grown out from theatre to include film.

The first film he was involved with was 1988's "Miles From Home," starring Richard Gere, John Malkovich and Helen Hunt. Much of the movie was shot in Iowa, a frequent campaign destination for Democratic presidential candidate Mass. Gov. Michael Dukakis. So Paleologos organized an event featuring both Gere and Dukakis, the first marriage of his political and entertainment worlds.

Paleologos' next project, by the same screenwriter, was "Mississippi Burning," based on the 1964 investigation into the disappearance of civil rights activists in the South. The film went on to receive seven Academy Award nominations, including Best Picture.

Paleologos also produced made-for-TV movies and documentaries. They include the Emmy-award nominated HBO movie "In the Gloaming," which was Christopher Reeve's directorial debut and first project following the accident that paralyzed him, and public television documentaries on Supreme Court Justice Louis Brandeis and television inventor Philo T. Farnsworth.

But while Paleologos found success in the film industry, he always had one foot planted in the theatre world, where he has been honored twice by the Tony Awards. He remains in that world today as founder and producing director of Boston's Stuart Street Playhouse.

His last major theatre project before joining the Massachusetts Film Office, the Broadway and London runs of the musical "Chitty Chitty Bang Bang," was special because his children could actually see it.

"Most of the plays I've been involved with over the years I couldn't bring the kids to," explains Paleologos. "The running joke in my family was, 'Daddy, when are you going to produce something that's appropriate?'"

Lights, Camera, Action

While the Massachusetts Film Office as it is known today did not open until 2007, Paleologos remembers the seeds of it being sown in 1979, when newly elected Gov. Edward King followed through on his "Make it in Massachusetts" campaign slogan by opening the original incarnation of the film office. Among its successes was attracting the filming of a hit TV series, "Spenser: For Hire," in Massachusetts. But in 2002, just as states such as Louisiana and New Mexico were rolling out tax incentives to lure filmmakers to their states, the office was dissolved. The spotlight dimmed on the Bay State.

What Paleologos calls "the straw that broke the camel's back" was the filming of "The Departed" in 2005. The movie was dripping Massachusetts—it starred native sons Matt Damon and Mark Wahlberg and had a plot centered on Boston—but it was barely filmed here, with only $6 million of the $90 million it cost to make the film spent in the state. That disparity was enough to get the legislature to look into instituting a similar tax credit.

An old buddy of Paleologos' from his days at the State House, Rep. Sal DiMasi, had risen to become Speaker of the House. One day, when they were catching up, DiMasi mentioned the movement to put Massachusetts back on the filmmaking map, and cited Paleologos' unique blend of experience as ideal to head up such an initiative.

Soon enough, the legislature had approved the re-opening of the Massachusetts Film Office, and Paleologos was one of 160 candidates to head it. In the end, he got the starring role. It was one he was seemingly born for.

"The truth of the matter is, in your life, there are very few times you can walk into a situation and you feel like, oh, gee I know exactly what to do," says Paleologos.

The impact of Paleologos' efforts to attract filmmakers back to Massachusetts has been tremendous. In 2005, Paleologos says the total amount of film expenditures in Massachusetts was $6 million, mostly from "The Departed." In 2006, the first year of the film credit, it increased tenfold to $60 million. Last year, it more than doubled to $125 million. By the time 2008 wraps up, Paleologos projects there will have been $380 million in film spending in Massachusetts this year. That adds up to more than half a billion dollars in direct spending in the state. If you count other related spending, the total could surpass $1 billion.

And Paleologos doesn't see those numbers dropping anytime soon, not with investors engaged in bidding wars over the rights to open soundstages, backlots and post-production houses in the Boston area.

Of course, Paleologos cites a host of factors that have contributed to this success—a supportive legislature, a diversity of locations in the state, even the rich film and media programs that Tufts and other universities offer. Surprisingly, another is the weak dollar, which has prompted filmmakers who might have originally gone to Canada or the United Kingdom to come to places like Boston. The case in point is the recent incarnation of "The Pink Panther."

"If there was ever a game changer for us, that was it," says Paleologos. "'Pink Panther' was the first movie that had nothing to do with Massachusetts. The entire movie takes place in Paris and Rome, and yet Rome and Paris only managed to get two weeks of the shoot and we got three months."

In a mostly cloudy economic landscape, Paleologos calls the success of the Massachusetts Film Office "one of the rays of sunshine."

That's Showbiz

Looking back at his career in the Massachusetts state legislature, Paleologos calls himself lucky for having had the opportunity to serve.

"Whenever I get frustrated about any sort of public policy issue, that's when I lament the fact that I can't do anything about it like I used to be able to do," says Paleologos. "My respect and admiration for people who are doing that job has gone up immeasurably." Of course, Paleologos will never be too far from politics—his brother David (A'80) is director of the Suffolk University Political Research Center, which conducts polling of political races in conjunction with Boston's WHDH-TV.

But as much as there is power in politics, there is power in media, a fact of which Paleologos is quite aware.

"If you're doing a play or movie that's about something, in your own way, you are contributing to people's knowledge and changing attitudes, you hope," says Paleologos. "Like it or not, popular culture has a huge impact on what people think and what they talk about."

And while Paleologos understands that in show business, money talks, he also believes that money isn't everything.

"When you're in the entertainment business, I do think that there's always the opportunity to get added satisfaction when you're not only doing something you hope will be financially successful, but doing something that counts, doing something that will last, doing something that is worth your time.