By Mary Erickson Associate Editor
Photo by Owen Carey
Janice Shokrian has worked around the film industry for years. Now she’s firmly embedded within the industry as the new head of Oregon’s industry association, the Oregon Media Production Association (OMPA).
After Tom McFadden resigned his post as Executive Director in February 2015, the OMPA has been in the interim hands of Nathaniel Applefield. The OMPA’s Board of Directors conducted a search to find McFadden’s replacement, and selected Shokrian to lead the OMPA in December 2015.
Ever since, Shokrian has been hitting the ground running. She’s traveled around the state, familiarizing herself with the myriad of individuals involved in Oregon’s media industry. Also on the agenda: getting familiar with the SourceOregon Directory and determining how to maximize its impact, particularly with regards to state incentive programs.
“The directory isn’t just a place to have your name. It has a greater purpose. It’s also a show of force for legislators,” Shokrian comments. “This message needs to resonate more fully.”
Shokrian brings a trove of arts management experience, having worked in volunteer management and marketing over the course of her career. She most recently served as the Executive Director of the Portland Actors Conservatory, and she also ran a boutique marketing company for 12 years, working with a Grammy Award-winning musician, an opera singer, and other clients from the nonprofit arts world. “I’ve always wanted to work in the nonprofit world,” says Shokrian. “It’s important that I have a cause and a drive to my work.”
Although she hasn’t been directly involved much in the film industry prior to her appointment with the OMPA, Shokrian is committed to understanding the dynamics within the organization and around the state. “I’m looking at the OMPA from a 30,000 feet viewpoint…this perspective allows me to look at our work from a different vantage point.”
She’s excited to be a champion for the industry and to provide support, especially working within Oregon’s film community. “I feel proud of our state. It’s not pretentious. Everybody stands shoulder-to-shoulder. There’s a real giveback sense in the community.” Shokrian hopes to continue that sense of involvement in the community while building the OMPA’s membership, which currently stands at roughly 800 members. Shokrian will also work with organizations around the state, such as Southern Oregon Film and Media (SOFaM), to ensure that the sense of community is supported and sustained throughout Oregon.
“We represent the whole state, not just Portland,” she says. “We’re Oregon-centric.”