Kwame Amoaku steps down from Film Office

Kwame Amoaku
Kwame Amoaku

This morning, Director of the Chicago Film Office, Kwame Amoaku, announced that he would be resigning from his position on Friday, June 3. He made the announcement on his Facebook page.

“To Chicago Film Community I am writing this letter to inform everyone that my last day as Director of the Chicago Film Office will be June 3rd, 2022. Deputy Director Betsey Grais will be leading the department until a replacement can be appointed. I have been a proud member of the Chicago Film Community for almost 30 years. This community is like a family to me. I grew up here and I have worked with many of you for most of my career. I love this city, all of it from Howard to 127th street. I remember the first job I ever worked. It was PA on a music video with Maria Roxas producing and Rakim Jihad directing. From that moment on I was all in.”

Amoaku then detailed the progress that was made under his leadership.

“Over the last three years, I am proud of the progress growth I have witnessed. I am proud to have been a part of the awesome success we have had here.

  • Increasing film production by 125%
  • Worked with State and City Health Departments to get COVID guidelines that allowed film to be declared essential manufacturing in Chicago allowing us to return to work quickly during the pandemic.
  • Improving the deconfliction process and working with neighborhoods to allow for the increase in production
  • Creating a workforce development program to expand employment opportunities to underserved areas of the city.
  • Creating a marketing program with to promote the importance of film production to the local economy
  • Worked with developers to get two new purpose-built infrastructure online by 2023 and working with existing providers to expand capacity.
  • Building the creative content infrastructure in Chicago’s Independent film community by supporting filmmakers with funding and professional development. I am confident that Commissioner Erin Harkey will continue grow the film industry here in Chicago.”

See Kwame’s Facebook post here.

In his post, Amoaku alludes that current Commissioner of the Chicago Department of Cultural Affairs and Special Events (DCASE) Erin Harkey, will assume his role. She will be aided by Chicago Film Office Team, Deputy Betsey Grais, Independent film coordinator Thavary Krouch, and Project Managers, John Hundriser and Tim Olson.

Amoaku was appointed Director of the Chicago Film Office in 2019. He considers the Chicago film community to be “more of a family to me than anything,” stating that strengthening the Windy City’s unique cinematic voice is among his top priorities.

Prior, Amoaku worked as Location Manager for Dick Wolf’s Chicago Fire from 2014 to 2018 and appeared on many lines of the call sheet earning dozens of acting, directing, and producing credits throughout his career.

Earlier this year, Reel Chicago broke the story that Amoaku had been brutally attacked outside of his home.

Kwame’s greatest asset to production has been his intuitiveness, respect, and knowledge of the craft combined with his uncanny ability to be effective in various facets of production.

Reel Chicago sends much peace to Kwame. You will be sorely missed. We wish you all the best in your new endeavors.

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Colin Costello is the West Coast Editor of Reel 360. Contact him at or follow him on Twitter at @colinthewriter1