Sunday, May 20, 2007

NM Media Wrap

I think everyone now knows what was finalized and announced this past week: that Sony Pictures Imageworks will be opening an operation here in New Mexico, within Albuquerque Studios south of Albuquerque. 100 employees are expected to move from Culver City to the new 100,000 sq ft facility, which should open within a year. Between 350-500 total employees are estimated for the space.

Richard Verrier covers the story in the LA Times (New Mexico Lures Jobs from Sony Unit) -- he's been one of the key reporters covering Albuquerque Studio's opening, the potential deal with Imageworks, and what New Mexico's growth means to Los Angeles.

Other local coverage came in the NM Business Weekly: Sony Imageworks makes ABQ Commitment

And the Albuquerque Journal: Animating News from Imageworks

The "Pause and Reflect" blog from laughingwolf offers an tiny peek into the establishment of other satellite facilities in Novato, CA and Chennai, India.

So... this news has been expected from quite some time -- but what does it mean?

Quite a few things, I'm sure, but one thing that's stuck in my mind is that in the space of a week, it's probably much easier now for professionals doing advanced FX work to move here. Last Wednesday and before, the choice to live in New Mexico was far more likely to come from someone who's lived here before, and liked it enough to take the risk. This week? Sure there's always risk, but the prospect of being among the early hires for a group like Imageworks feels much more like an opportunity.

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Governor's Cup Short Documentary Films Announced

Governor Richardson Announces Three Winners of the 2007 Governor's Cup Short Documentary Competition

SANTA FE - Governor Bill Richardson today announced the winners of the 2007 Governor's Cup Short Documentary Competition: Ramona Emerson of Albuquerque; Armando Kirwin and Daniel Dinning of Albuquerque; and Thomas Tischler of Santa Fe.

"These filmmakers represent some of the best of New Mexico's talent," stated Governor Bill Richardson. "I'm pleased to continue our efforts to provide support and exposure for our own filmmaking community."

Funded by Comcast, the nation's leading provider of cable, entertainment and communications products and services, and the National Geographic All Roads Film Project, each winner will receive a $5,000 budget toward the creation of their film, plus use of the state's production equipment, and trainees from the Film Technicians Training Programs statewide.

Over 100 entries were received for the competition, from every corner of the state.

"The quality of proposals received this year was exceptional," stated Lisa Strout, Director of the New Mexico Film Office. "There were many, many worthy projects that I would like to see come to fruition for our filmmakers."

Eric Witt, Director of Media Arts & Industries Development for Governor Bill Richardson, noted the successes of earlier Governor's Cup winners. "Previous winning filmmakers have already won awards outside the state and have had their films seen across the country," he stated. "Bringing the work of New Mexicans to light is a top priority."

"Comcast is pleased to support the Governor's Cup competition again this year. We are proud to be a part of this competition which provides an opportunity for aspiring talent in New Mexico," said Scott Westerman, Southwest Area Vice President for Comcast.

The two winners in the Comcast category, which will be produced throughout the state this summer, are:

THE SLAM DOC! by Armando Kirwin and Daniel Dinning. After working on a number of feature films and shorts in New Mexico, in 2006 Mr. Kirwin founded Galloquema Films, a boutique production company that focuses on local projects. Mr. Dinning has worked closely with Galloquema Films since its inception. THE SLAM DOC! will follow four New Mexico poets, from Taos, Deming and Albuquerque, as they prepare for and compete in a national poetry slam competition.

COACH HUIZAR by Thomas Tischler. Mr. Tischler is a graduate of the New Mexico School for the Deaf and Gallaudet University. He is currently pursuing a degree in Media Arts at Santa Fe Community College. He has been profoundly deaf since birth. Mr. Tischler's documentary is about Robert Huizar, a football coach at the New Mexico School for the Deaf who led his team to victory in 2006 for the first time in 119 years – and has now been selected to guide New Mexico's six-man North All-Star team (deaf and hearing) to a state championship.

The winner in the National Geographic All Roads category is A RETURN HOME by Ramona Emerson. This documentary will follow Navajo artist B. Emerson Kitsman as she begins a monumental project while trying to adjust to her return to reservation life. Ms. Emerson, a member of Navajo nation, received her BA in Media Arts from the University of New Mexico in 1997, one of the first two graduates of the program. Since then she has created a number of films, including THE LAST TREK, which was recently shown at the National Museum of the American Indian, both in New York and Washington, DC.

More information is available at the NM Film Office site.