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Vans Stevenson, a senior government affairs executive with the Motion Pictures Association (MPA) concluded his 34-year career this week. He was a deeply knowledgeable expert on the inner workings of state bureaucracies, with an encyclopedic knowledge of the issues and key players in parts of the country where the movie business had set up shop.
Before his recent role, Stevenson served as the senior VP of state government affairs for 25 years, where he attended to and managed MPA members’ interests on a national scale, as well as Puerto Rico, the U.S. Virgin Islands and Guam.
“I looked forward to going to work every day to improve, protect and defend the production, distribution and business practices of our member companies,” Stevenson said. “As I begin the next chapter of my career, I want to thank MPA CEO and chairman Charlie Rivkin for his leadership during my time at the association.”
In 1989, Stevenson joined the MPA (formerly Motion Picture Association of America) and developed strategies that defended member companies from state laws that would restrict access to First Amendment-protected motion pictures. Stevenson also spearheaded and initiated legislative tactics that prevented taxes on film rental industry, which were initially earned from theaters and home video sales, and eventually the DVD industry and Internet streaming distribution.
Stevenson’s legislative strategies also led to the enactment of 45 state laws to prohibit the use of recording devices in movie theaters.
A decade into his MPA career, Stevenson also managed the enactment of tax credit programs that helped studios and producer lower budgets and make movies in states like Georgia, New York and Louisiana. The MPA argues these tax perks create jobs, improve economic development and reduce the tax liability on broadcast licensing and advertising revenue streams.
During the COVID pandemic, Stevenson developed the industry’s back-to-work white paper report that helped establish guidelines for resuming production.