Experienced filmmaker Betsy Steinberg
to succeed IFO director Brenda Sexton

In a move that took the film industry by surprise, Illinois Film Office director Brenda Sexton today announced her resignation as of Jan. 31.

Her successor is Betsy Steinberg, VP/development for Towers Productions, who takes office Jan. 29 armed with 18 years experience in TV and film production.

“Brenda did a phenomenal job in four years and we were fortunate to have her,” complimented Story executive producer Mark Androw, who had been part of IFO sales missions to L.A.

“She was a great spokesman for our industry and a strong salesperson, which is what we need.”

Steinberg will be taking over at a propitious time as “phones since Jan. 2 have been ringing off hook with potential projects,” Sexton noted.

A native of St. Louis, Steinberg said her appointment “feels wonderful, exciting and can’t wait to get started.” Her basic plan for the IFO is “to advance the groundwork already laid with the latest tax credit renewal and bring more business to Illinois.”

After working as a freelance producer for Towers Productions and other clients, Steinberg joined the Towers staff in 2004. She arrived in Chicago in 1998 following a stint in Washington, D.C. where she worked with a political media consultant and producer of PBS documentaries.

Jonathan Towers, who called Steinberg “a driving force in bringing in new business,” a quality prized among film commissioners, said that she did a fabulous job on the numerous projects she worked on, “demonstrating charm, leadership, collegiality, and grace under pressure.”

How Steinberg and the Governor’s Office connected for the appointment was not clarified as no other candidates had been considered, the same situation that prevailed when Sexton was tapped.

“Betsy was the top choice of the governor,” Ross reiterated. “We were aware of her wealth of experience and we reached out to her.”

Steinberg’s former Towers colleague, producer Bob Schneiger, said he believes “she will be terrific” in her new job. “Betsy has extensive production experience, the intelligence, drive and most important?the people skills to represent our industry to the world.”