Rita McClenny Won Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts

We are thrilled to hear that one of our clients, Rita McClenny, Director of the Virginia Film Office, recently received the much-coveted and prestigious 2010 Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts for her outstanding work in the area of Films.

A native Virginian herself, Rita McClenny came to the Virginia Film Office in 1991 to assist Laura Oaksmith, then head of the Virginia Film Office. For the past 20 years, Ms. McClenny has been working tirelessly to bring hundreds of film and television productions to the state. This in turn adds billions of dollars to Virginia’s economy. The list of projects filmed on location in Virginia is impressive, among them are: John Adams, Sommersby, Hannibal, First Kid, Lassie, The New World, The West Wing, Cold Mountain, The Contender, and War of the Worlds.

One of Ms. McClenny’s most notable achievements was her successful effort in bringing Tom Hanks and his Emmy Award-winning HBO mini-series John Adams to Virginia. The production was filmed on location in and around Richmond and Williamsburg. It went on to sweep the Emmys, winning 13 awards, four of which went to Virginians in categories of design, wardrobe, and camera work.

John Adams is the kind of enduring project that will continue to have an impact for years to come,” said Ms. McClenny. “It is a quintessentially American story told with the greatest integrity and artistry and I am proud to have played a part in bringing it to Virginia.”

In addition to bringing high-profile productions to Virginia, Ms. McClenny also supports the local independent film community. She encourages Virginian filmmakers to use their state for their production works, be it films, music videos, reality television or commercials. She plays an important role in the growth of Virginia’s in-state film industry by promoting film education programs at many of Virginia universities.

But that’s not all. Ms. McClenny is also Vice President for the Virginia Tourism Corporation, and has served on the boards of the Virginia Film Festival, Virginia Center for Media and Culture, Maymont Foundation, The Byrd Theatre Foundation and HCA-CJW Medical Center.

Ms. McClenny’s vital role in fostering the film industry in Virginia inspires Alisa Bailey, President and CEO of the Virginia Tourism Corporation. On her receiving this year’s Theresa Pollak Award for Excellence in the Arts, Ms. Bailey states, “There is no one more deserving of this award that Rita McClenny, whose rare combination of intelligence, tenacity and grace allow her to her excel at everything she does. Her leadership and commitment have been instrumental in the growth of film production in Virginia and we are honored to have her on our team.”

The award was named after Theresa Pollak (1899-2002), a Virginian artist and educator who was responsible for fostering Richmond’s arts community. Among her many accomplishments, Ms. Pollak founded the arts programs at both the Virginia Commonwealth University and the University of Richmond. Both schools rank as two of the nation’s best art schools today.

Below are the official posters of some of the productions filmed on location in Virginia.

Congratulations Rita! The Reel-Scout team deeply admires you.