Chris Ortman is departing the Motion Picture Association as its chief spokesperson after almost five years.
In an email to staffers on Friday, Ortman wrote that in recent weeks he had been talking to Emily Lenzer, the MPA’s executive vice president of global communications, about a transition plan. His last day will be on Aug. 14.
Ortman wrote, “As I am sure has been the case with many if not all of you, the experience of the pandemic and other major national events that have so far defined ‘the 20s’ have caused me to reflect on how I spend my days. Things like: where I want to work, what issues I want to work on, and whether or not to mute the video on zoom calls. On the personal front, I am newlywed in a (temporarily) long distance marriage and supporting a loved one during a serious health issue, which means I need more flexibility to travel (safely and with a mask).”
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He added, “Going forward, I plan to pursue other opportunities for clients and causes I care about, including ‘the fundamental right of creators to determine how their works are distributed’ (always on message). In the near term, I’ll be pitching in where I can on behalf of candidates for elected office that I feel can best help our country live up to its ideals.”
Ortman was responsible for the press rollout of the MPA’s new CEO, Charles Rivkin, in 2017, and spearheaded the rebranding of the organization’s global report on theatrical revenue to add home entertainment and streaming data, among other projects. He was promoted to senior VP of communications in early 2019.
In a statement, Lenzer said that Ortman’s “talents for media relations, crisis communications, messaging, and strategic campaigns have been an invaluable asset to the Motion Picture Association. Moreover, his creativity and entrepreneurial spirit and instinct have raised the bar for the rest of the communications team. We wish him well in his next chapter.”
Ortman joined the MPA in 2015, succeeding Kate Bedingfield, who left to become communications director in the office of Vice President Joe Biden. She now serves as Biden’s deputy campaign manager and communications director.
Before the MPA, Ortman was vice president of communications and corporate affairs at CreativeFuture, the industry organization trying to bolster content protection.
He also has held posts as a spokesman for the Department of Homeland Security. He also held roles with the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee and the 2009 Presidential Inaugural Committee.