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New AFI Communications Exec Hails from K Street, Helped HBO's 'Veep'

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by Anne Thompson
June 18, 2012 2:55 PM
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Jennifer Hoelzer
Jennifer Hoelzer

What many in Hollywood don't know about the American Film Institute's new Communications vice-president Jennifer Hoelzer--who is moving from the shark-infested Washington, D.C. beltway to start her relatively civilized new L.A. job on July 16--is that she was a primary source for HBO's comedy series "Veep." No wonder the show rings true.

I met Hoelzer at the AFI tribute to Shirley MacLaine, and the AFI is lucky to get her. She's a whip-smart strategic communicator with more than a decade of experience in the scrim of national policy debates; for the last six years she served as Communications Director and Deputy Chief of Staff for U.S. Senator Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), working on issues ranging from health reform and national security to tax, energy and internet policy.

The Harvard-trained Hoelzer enjoyed sharing some of her tales from K Street with HBO's "Veep" writers, which yielded both a disastrous trip to a yogurt shop and a mistake signing a birthday card to the president. The show stars Julia Louis Dreyfus as the nation's vice-president and Anna Chlumsky as her 30ish chief of staff. "Veep" has a ten show commitment for Season Two.

According to the AFI press release:

At AFI, Hoelzer will manage the Institute’s press and public relations activities while crafting messaging that underscores AFI’s mission “to preserve the history of the motion picture, to honor the artists and their work and to educate the next generation of storytellers.”

“Our goal was to find someone who could articulate the relevance of the moving image arts to the nation and the world, and we believe we have found that voice in Jen,” said Bob Gazzale, AFI President and CEO. “She loves the movies, and her fresh perspective and extensive communications experience is precisely what the American Film Institute needs to remind us all that the movies matter.”

Ohio-born Hoelzer earned a master’s degree in Public Policy from the Harvard Kennedy School and a bachelor’s degree in International Affairs from the George Washington University.

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