Longtime Government Affairs Executive Closes Out Career at Motion Picture Association
Vans Stevenson’s 34-Year Career at Association Began Under Jack Valenti
WASHINGTON, DC – Senior government affairs executive Vans Stevenson will end his 34-year career at the Motion Picture Association (MPA) on May 31.
Stevenson, senior advisor of global government affairs, spent 25 years as Senior Vice President, State Government Affairs, managing member companies’ interests in the 50 states, the District of Columbia, 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.”
Rivkin commended Stevenson for his decades of service to the MPA and its member studios. “The Motion Picture Association celebrated its 100th anniversary last year, and Vans has literally been here for a third of our existence. His dedication and service to the MPA and our member studios is beyond measure,” Rivkin said. “Vans is moving on to his next adventure, but his positive impact on our team, our studios and to the industry at large will be felt for decades to come.”
In February 2022, Kathy Bañuelos joined the MPA as Senior Vice President for State Government Affairs. That team has expanded in the past year to include senior representatives in the Southeast and Northeast regions.
Stevenson joined what was then the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) in 1989. The industry was undergoing a shift at the time, with home video cassette rental and sales that created a new distribution channel. He developed and directed strategies that defended member companies from state laws that would restrict access to First Amendment-protected motion pictures. Stevenson also initiated legislative tactics that prevented taxes on gross revenues generated from film rental income earned from theatres and home video sales, which eventually transformed to DVDs and later Internet streaming distribution.
He designed a legislative strategy that led to the enactment of 45 state laws that prohibit the use of recording devices in theatres where movies were copied for illegal Internet distribution. Beginning in the early 2000s, Stevenson also managed enactment of tax credit programs that reduced member company production budgets and created jobs and economic development in more than 35 states. Stevenson also directed efforts for the studio parent companies to significantly reduce tax liability on broadcast licensing and advertising revenue streams.
Most recently, he helped develop the production back-to-work white paper that evolved into a labor-studio agreement during the COVID pandemic.
Stevenson is widely credited with derailing the last government-run movie rating board in Dallas, Texas, in the 1990s. He developed and implemented a grassroots and communications plan that resulted in the Dallas City Council voting to sunset an over half-century ordinance that required all movies to be rated by a municipal board before exhibition to the public in theatres. This was a year-long effort that signaled the end to city and state operated movie ratings boards across the country dating back to the 1920s.
Prior to joining the MPA, Stevenson was a government affairs, public relations and marketing executive at Blockbuster Entertainment and Warner Cable Communications. He began his career as a newspaper, wire service and newsletter journalist.
About The Motion Picture Association
The Motion Picture Association, Inc. (MPA) serves as the global voice and advocate of the motion picture, home video, and television industries. It works to advance the creative industry, protect its members’ content across all screens, defend the creative and artistic freedoms of storytellers, and support innovative distribution models that bring an expansion of viewing choices to audiences around the world. Its member studios are: Netflix Studios, LLC; Paramount Pictures Corporation; Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc.; Universal City Studios LLC; Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures; and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc. Charles Rivkin is Chairman and CEO.