Throwing his speech to his former staffer as he posed for photos made it seem like very little had changed in former U.S. Sen. Chris Dodd’s life.
But that’s not completely true.
Dodd is now the chairman and CEO of the Motion Picture Association of America and life is good.
Two weeks into the job he returned home in his new role to promote the animated film, Rio, and tonight he’ll be in Houston, Texas to watch the University of Connecticut Huskies take on the Butler Bulldogs.
“I loved my job for 36 years,” Dodd said. “I’ll always be grateful to the people of Connecticut for giving me the opportunity of doing that, but it was time to move on.”
He said the MPAA came and recruited him and at first it didn’t make sense, but the more he talked to them the more convinced he became it was a good fit. Dodd grew animated as he talked about digital theft, one of the industries top concerns with a small group of reporters.
“Reducing the digital theft that I call looting. Piracy is too gentle, romantic a word in my view,“ Dodd said.
One of his former staffers who spent time with Dodd this weekend said he can talk about the industry for 45-minutes straight without skipping a beat. He said his former boss seems to really being enjoying his new role.
At least handful of former staff members came to say hello to Dodd at the film opening.
Fox Filmed Entertainment Co-chairman and CEO Jim Gianopulos said when the industry was looking for a new leader they were looking for someone who understood the importance of heritage, but also someone who understood the future. He said that meant they knew they had to get someone from Connecticut, and no one represented Connecticut better than Dodd.
Dodd was joined at the opening of the film by Blue Sky Studios Chief Operating Officer Brian Keane, Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, Lt. Gov. Nancy Wyman, and a handful of lawmakers in instrumental in the passage of Connecticut’s film tax credit program.
Malloy has proposed reducing the credits to 50 percent for any film companies not physically located in the state of Connecticut. Malloy said Blue Sky Studios which created the animated film Rio is exactly the kinds of companies he wants to attract with a 100 percent film tax credit.
Blue Sky Studio moved to Connecticut in January 2009 and now has created 400 jobs, which pay an average of $100,000 per employee, Keane said.
Dodd said he won’t be pushing back against Malloy’s decision to reduce the film tax credit for productions which move temporarily to the state to take advantage of the program.
Moving to the state of Connecticut was “one of the best decisions we ever made, and we say that even when we’re not here,” Keane said.