Saturday, June 30, 2007

New Visions/New Mexico Contract Awards program announced

New Mexico-based filmmakers eligible to receive contracts up to $20,000 - Panavision joins the program with two awards of camera rental packages valued at $10,000 each

Posted: June 29, 2007

We are pleased to announce a call for proposals for “New Visions/New Mexico,” a Contract Award program designed to support and encourage the work of New Mexico filmmakers. Contracts up to $20,000 are available toward the creation of film or video projects of any length. New Mexico-based filmmakers may apply for funds toward the development, production, post-production or some aspect of distribution of films or videos in the following categories: narrative films, documentary, animation or experimental.

The deadline for proposals is September 7, 2007. Awardees will be announced in November. Applications are available on the New Mexico Film Office website

SIC Approves Loans for Swing Vote & The Burrowers

State council OKs financing for two movies
by David Miles
From The New Mexican

The State Investment Council on Tuesday approved a $15 million state loan for a political comedy starring Kevin Costner and roughly $7 million to finance a science fiction thriller about subterranean creatures who prey on the inhabitants of a Wild West town.

The council unanimously approved no-interest loans for the movies Swing Vote and The Burrowers. A two-year, $15 million loan was approved for Swing Vote, in which Costner plays Bud Johnson, an apathetic single father who faces the daunting task of casting the deciding vote in a presidential election.

The film has a $20 million budget, and Costner is putting his money behind a bond to ensure the project is completed, said Peter Dekom, a Beverly Hills, Calif., entertainment attorney who is paid $319,000 a year to serve as the state’s film adviser. “It’s a larger budget; it’s got marquee names; it’s a theme that’s unbelievably timely,” Dekom said of Swing Vote.

New Mexico will receive 8.5 percent of any profits the film makes after paying its production costs under the terms of the loan. Swing Vote will be filmed primarily in Albuquerque and Belen, with two days of shooting scheduled for Santa Fe, producer Jim Wilson said. Shooting is scheduled to begin July 23.

The investment council also approved a three-year, roughly $7 million loan to finance the entire budget of The Burrowers, which will be produced by Lions Gate Entertainment. New Mexico will receive 15 percent of the film’s profits that remain after paying its production costs.

The Burrowers centers on a missing family of settlers in the North Dakota Territory in the late 19th century, said Jim Gladstone, Lions Gate’s executive vice president of business and legal affairs. Although local residents are quick to blame American Indians for the family’s disappearance, they learn that “supernatural creatures” are responsible, Gladstone said.

Shooting is scheduled to begin July 9 in Santa Fe and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, according to the New Mexico Film Office.

The film crew is using effluent water to grow the tall grass featured in The Burrowers, said Lisa Strout, director of the film office.

“Think of Jaws with ripply grass,” Dekom said.

Film producers are expected to hire 135 New Mexico crew members and 12 out-of-state crew members, the film office said. Swing Vote is expected to result in 205 jobs for New Mexicans and 37 jobs for other crew members, according to the office.

State Land Commissioner Pat Lyons, a member of the investment council, expressed concern the State Investment Council has more than $80 million in outstanding loans to Lions Gate. “We want to keep an eye on that,” Lyons said.

But Dekom said Lions Gate has agreed to extensive provisions guaranteeing to repay the loan for The Burrowers, and he said all of the company’s New Mexico projects appear to be heading for profits. “Lions Gate is one of the most consistently profitable motion-picture studios in the business,” Dekom said.

Afterwards Wraps in Alamogordo

Film crew wraps up White Sands shoot
From the Alamogordo Daily News

Filming in Alamogordo took place this week at White Sands National Monument. A French production company, bringing more than 70 crew members, was welcomed by officials from Otero County, the Alamogordo Chamber of Commerce and the organizers of the 2008 White Sands International Film Festival according to a news release announcing the filming.

Shot over four days at White Sands National Monument, this film was supported through the efforts of the chamber of commerce and key members of the White Sands International Film Festival.

The news release noted both organizations are seeking to raise the profile of southern New Mexico as a prime location for the production of feature films.

Ed Carr, executive director of the chamber, offered assistance through the support of film liaison Jan Waffle, with extra support provided during the final days of shooting from David Gibbons, executive festival producer of the reshaped International Film Festival, and festival colleagues, the news release stated.

"The shooting of the movie 'Afterwards' this week at White Sands National Monument demonstrates again the attractiveness of Alamogordo and our area to film makers," Carr said in an official statement. "The cast and crew of around 100 provided a nice shot in the arm to many local businesses.

"With the movie 'Transformers' coming out next week, the movie 'Afterwards' hitting the screens in the near future and the upcoming White Sands International Film Festival, Alamogordo will be getting a lot more attention from the film industry."

More at:

New Mexico in the News, part 329: Daily Variety

Another spate of stories about New Mexico in the news this week -- led by the coverage in Daily Variety. New Mexico is often a key part of the story when other states talk about developing incentives or other mechanisms to grow their share of income from movies and games, and the coverage of Albuquerque Studios and the Imageworks announcement has been solid in LA and elsewhere.

Prominent features in Forbes and Moviemaker magazine have also been very nice.

What does all this coverage mean?

I may be thinking too much about sales these days, but one reason this coverage (nearly all positive) has been great is the way it positions NM in the minds of our potential customers and collaborators. When these folks 'know' that New Mexico is a place where these moviemaking and other creative work happens, it makes selling the individual product or project that much easier.

Not all of us are sales people, I know, but in a world where people google eachother as a standard step in starting to do business, all the other association and keywords you might have can make a difference. And even if you're not really a sales person, being able to refer the people you talk with to a 3rd party source that helps make your case is invaluable.

And... maybe it's a Sun Tzu thing, but knowing what the people you do business with are reading and thinking about can be helpful.

All that said... there are several New Mexico write-ups in last Monday's Variety. Here's a run-down with links:

New Mexico ramps up film training programs
Article on building New Mexico's film crews and educating homegrown filmmakers through program's like the College of Santa Fe's "New Mexico Filmmakers Intensive."

As the New Mexico film industry grows, so does demand for experienced local crews.

To help bring the industry up to speed quickly, the state hatched the Film Technicians Training Program (FTTP), which operates through New Mexico's community college network to train people in below-the-line basics.

FTTP has already seen more than 350 students pass through and find work.

"One of the things we didn't see coming was people waking up at 35 and saying, 'I didn't plan to be an accountant at a bank, I've always wanted to be in the movies,'" says Jon Hendry, business agent for IATSE Local 480. Of those who enroll, 60 to 70% are nontraditional students, Hendry estimates. "They make particularly good film technicians."

FTTP was established at the same time as the state's Film Crew Advancement Program, which includes a 50% reimbursement of hourly wages for local crew hires who receive on-the-job training.

"The key to our program," Hendry says, "is it allows a seamless progression from the FTTP classroom environment to the crew advancement program for those (who have) little experience but enthusiasm to learn."

The state is now able to crew up to half a dozen projects, up from two or three previously.

More here.

Imageworks eyes New Mexico's talent
Article on the Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence (IPAX) Program and UNM's role in the future production facility.

Aggressive incentives and state-of-the-art studio space may have lured Sony Pictures Imageworks to New Mexico, but the promise of tapping a homegrown talent pool certainly sweetened the deal.

Sande Scoredos, executive director of training and artist development for Imageworks, saw an incredible opportunity in the U. of New Mexico, located just a few miles from the company's future Albuquerque Studios hub, a planned three-story facility scheduled to open in spring 2008.

"Seeing where the good students were coming from, we were seeing a trend," she says. "You need to work with the faculty."

So Sony developed a unique Imageworks Professional Academic Excellence (IPAX) program, a network of 11 universities and specialty schools for animation and visual effects. And U. of New Mexico is the latest partner.

As IPAX chair, Scoredos envisions the program as a win-win for Imageworks and the schools.

"We're not going in saying, 'Here's what you need to do,'" she explains. Instead, by offering faculty development, inhouse training and curriculum review, Imageworks ensures that participating institutions are up to speed with cutting-edge digital effects techniques. In return, the schools equip students with the practical skills Imageworks seeks in future hires, with Sony often scooping up the top grads.

More here.

Stars converge over New Mexico
Overview of a few of the stars who've chosen homes in New Mexico and why they're here...

Art, food, music, UFOs -- four good reasons why many in Hollywood, from stars to supporting players, have left the craziness of the coast for the zenlike calm of Santa Fe, Taos, Las Cruces or Albuquerque.

New Mexico has lured artists of every kind for years -- in terms of sales, the art market in Santa Fe is second only to New York -- and has produced an iconic cuisine and iconic art. The state has long provided a refuge for creative types, and for some Hollywood players, it's a place to take a break from the biz without fear of paparazzi.

But what is it that draws successful showbiz folks to the Southwest?

"It's a place that not only sparks and feeds your imagination, but everything that you imagine becomes real," says resident and state champion Shirley MacLaine. "On any given little mountaintop, if you like to hike, you can scoop up a handful of crystals and start a shop.

"You have art, culture, literature, (diverse) intersections of people ... and that provides a really rich cultural background against which you can know yourself better."

Gene Hackman, Julia Roberts, Patrick Swayze and Alan Arkin also call New Mexico home (March 15 was declared "Alan Arkin Day" in the state). Even D.H. Lawrence spent a couple years outside Taos in the 1920s and planned on returning but died of tuberculosis before he realized those plans.

More here.

And finally, a quick wrap-up of recent productions in New Mexico
New Mexico on Film
A look at recent productions filmed in the state

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Malkovich Movie to Shoot in New Mexico

Governor Bill Richardson Announces 'Afterwards' to be filmed in New Mexico

SANTA FE—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that the feature film, Afterwards, a Fidelite Films and Christal Films production, will be partially shot in New Mexico. Romain Duris, John Malkovich and Evangeline Lilly will star in the film.

Afterwards tells the story of Nathan, a recently divorced lawyer, who is shaken up after meeting a doctor who claims that he has the ability to sense when certain people are going to die. The doctor believes he is sent to help those people put their life in order before it's too late.

Nathan comes to understand that the doctor believes he is going to die soon, and even though he doesn't believe him, certain disconcerting events in his life start to make him think that his days are numbered.

The production will be shot in and around Albuquerque, Alamogordo, Jemez and Tularosa from June 15 - 29 and expects to hire approximately 70 local New Mexico crew members...

(more at the site)

Bordertown Pays Back Loan

Often cited as a case suggesting issues with New Mexico's loan and incentives programs, Bordertown is paid up -- and we'll finally see the work of lots of friends and family on screen.
From the Albuquerque Tribune / Wire Reports:

The production company behind "Bordertown," a movie starring Jennifer Lopez that was partially filmed in The Tribune's offices, has paid back a defaulted state loan with interest.

Mobius Entertainment/Bordertown Productions Inc. defaulted in March 2006 on $2.35 million borrowed from the state through the film investment program. Last week the company paid more than $2.6 million, including a 9.3 percent interest penalty.

The loan is the only one to have defaulted among 19 film and TV projects that the state has loaned nearly $176 million to during the past four years. About $25 million has been repaid, according to the State Investment Council.

"Bordertown" is set to be released in the United States in the fall. Directed by Gregory Nava, it aims to focus attention on the killing of hundreds of women around Juarez during the past 14 years.

Saturday, June 9, 2007

Indiana Jones IV to Shoot (a bit) in New Mexico

Well, some more rumors are true...

'Indiana Jones 4' to shoot near Deming (from the Las Cruces Sun)

An action hero with a renowned fear of snakes is coming to southern New Mexico.

The fourth installment of the "Indiana Jones" series will film some scenes in Deming. The working title is: "Indiana Jones and the City of the Gods."

An area outside Deming will be transformed through Hollywood magic into Morocco.

Folks who work in the technical side of the film business have been in Deming for weeks. A building at the former air strip in Deming has been painted blue, with a USAF insignia and the words "Home Of The Fighter Pilot" painted on an outside wall. In addition, WWII Air Force vehicles are parked nearby.

Steven Spielberg will direct, while George Lucas is executive producer.

New Mexico reportedly is the first filming site, but no filming dates have been announced. It is not known if star Harrison Ford will be in Deming for any of the scenes shot on location there.

Lucasfilm Ltd. announced in January that it would be filming a fourth installment of the action series...

Read the full article at:

Thursday, June 7, 2007

NMIPA Meeting in Santa Fe June 14th

The New Mexico Internet Professional Association (NMIPA) will hold its annual meeting and social June 14 in Santa Fe.

Members will elect the association's new board at the meeting, which includes a review of the past year's activities and "satirical awards" for some members, says Program Chair Jan Zimmerman. Six people are running for office this year, she says.

The NMIPA, formed in 1996, currently has 75-plus member organizations that provide a range of Internet services, including Web development, data base protection, E-commerce, Web marketing and project management. The association provides educational workshops and networking opportunities for members, along with advocacy at government hearings and in the state Legislature, Zimmerman says.

The event will take place at 5:30 p.m. at The Lodge at Santa Fe, 750 North St. Francis Dr. Participation costs $26.95, which includes dinner. Non-members are welcome.

For more information or to reserve a place, call (505) 345-1066 or visit the association Web site at

"Linewatch" and Oxygen's "Husband for Hire" Announced

New Production Announcements: Linewatch with Cuba Gooding and Oxygen Network's "Husband for Hire"

Governor Bill Richardson Announces "Linewatch" to be filmed in New Mexico
Thursday, June 07, 2007

SANTA FE—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that the feature film Linewatch, starring Oscar-winning supporting actor Cuba Gooding Jr., will shoot in New Mexico.

Linewatch tells the story of a seasoned agent (Gooding Jr.) working linewatch on the US/Mexico border whose world is suddenly threatened by secrets from his past.

The production will be shot in and around Albuquerque from July 5 through July 31 and expects to hire approximately 60 local New Mexico crew members.

The film will be produced by Brad Krevoy and Karri O’Reilly. Kevin Bray (Walking Tall, All About the Benjamins, TV’s Heroes and Cold Case) will direct. Sony Pictures will distribute.

“We’re very happy to welcome Linewatch to New Mexico,” said Richardson. “This is also a good kickoff with Sony following the recent Imageworks announcement.”


Governor Richardson Announces Oxygen Original Movie "Husband for Hire"* to be filmed in New Mexico

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

SANTA FE—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that the Oxygen Network Original Movie, Husband for Hire (*working title), a Process Media production, will be shot in New Mexico. Mark Consuelos, Nadine Velazquez, Mario Lopez, Erik Estrada and Tempestt Bledsoe will star.

Velazquez stars as Lola, a Latina business woman who has to get married or she will lose her share of the family fortune; and Consuelos plays Nate, the man she hires as her husband-to-be. Lopez has been cast as Lola’s ex-fiancee, Estrada as her traditional father and Bledsoe as her no-nonsense best friend.

The production will be shot in and around Albuquerque from June 4 - 30 and expects to hire approximately 70 New Mexico crew members and 16 local principal actors.

The film will be produced by Tim Perell and Howard Gertler of Process Media. Kris Isacsson is writer/director.

“We’re proud to be hosting this production from the Oxygen Network, and one that features Latinos so prominently as protagonists,” said Richardson.

Monday, June 4, 2007

Swing Vote to Shoot in New Mexico.

SANTA FE—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that the feature film Swing Vote will shoot in New Mexico.

The film will be directed by Joshua Michael Stern (Neverwas), produced by Kevin Costner and his longtime producer Jim Wilson, and executive produced by Costner’s Treehouse Films partner, Robin Jonas. Swing Vote is a film that plays on our disenchantment with politics in a wholly accessible and comedic way.

The story follows Bud Johnson (Costner), an apathetic, working class, single father who is thrust onto the world stage after the presidential election comes down to a single vote…his. Prodded by his idealistic 12-year old daughter, Bud struggles to make the right choice while being pandered to by politicians who will say and do anything to win.

Swing Vote will be the first of Costner’s newly formed production company, Treehouse Films.

“We warmly welcome Mr. Costner and Treehouse Films to New Mexico,” said Governor Bill Richardson. “The subject matter of this project is also of some interest to me,” he quipped.

Swing Vote marks Joshua Michael Stern’s second foray into directing, after his highly anticipated debut drama Neverwas opened the Toronto Film Festival. Stern is directing Swing Vote from a script he co-wrote with Jason Richman (Bangkok Dangerous).

Commented Stern, “Kevin is perfect for the lead…he really is the iconic everyman. I’m excited about putting together an amazing cast around him. I also feel blessed to have a partner that shares my passion for this project and the importance it holds before the next election.”

Kathy Morgan International (KMI) will be handling international sales for the film, and will attend the Cannes Film Festival on behalf of SWING VOTE. KMI specializes in the worldwide sales, distribution, marketing and financing of theatrical motion pictures.

Radar Pictures, in association with G & M Films, will also executive produce.

The film goes into production in Belen and Albuquerque, New Mexico on July 23.
Contact: New Mexico Film Office 476-5600

Conspiracy to Film in New Mexico

Governor Bill Richardson Announces "Conspiracy," starring Val Kilmer, to be filmed in New Mexico
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

SANTA FE—Governor Bill Richardson today announced that Hollywood Media Bridge will shoot the feature film, Conspiracy, in New Mexico.

Conspiracy tells the story of a Special Ops Marine (Kilmer), wounded in Iraq, who travels to Southern Arizona to start a new life on the ranch of his best friend. When he arrives, the friend has disappeared and no one in town will admit to knowing him. When the truth is revealed, our hero, who has put violence in his past, must decide whether or not to bring vengeance on the town.

The production will be shot in and around Santa Fe, Galisteo, Madrid and Pecos from May 29 through June 29 and expects to hire approximately 70 local New Mexico crew members.

The film will be produced by Alison Semenza and Adam Marcus will direct. Benjamin Sacks is line-producing

“I’m a big Val Kilmer fan,” said Richardson. “I’m especially happy that one of our own local luminaries is making a picture here. That’s what our film program is all about.”

“We have had nothing less than a first class experience since we have been here in Santa Fe,” said Semenza, “The local crew have all been fantastic.”

“All of us are thrilled to be in New Mexico,” said Sacks. “We are looking forward to our experience here.”

Since Richardson took office, over 65 feature films and television series have shot in the state, adding over $1.1 billion dollars to New Mexico’s economy.

Governor Richardson Announces Economic Development Summit: Energizing the Entrepreneurial Economy

Governor Richardson Announces 2007 Summit on Economic Development
Wednesday, May 30, 2007

This year’s theme “Energizing the Entrepreneurial Economy,” to be held September 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque

Early Registration Deadline: August 30, 2007

SANTA FE—The 2007 Governor’s Summit on Economic Development, titled “Energizing the Entrepreneurial Economy,” will be held September 26-28 at the Hyatt Regency Albuquerque, Governor Richardson announced today.

“Entrepreneurship is at the heart of New Mexico’s economic base,” said Governor Richardson. “What’s more, the vast majority of our state’s employers are small businesses, which employ more than half our private sector workers. To help companies like these grow, we’ve planned a three-day intensive experience designed to support a culture of entrepreneurship in New Mexico.”

Among the speakers at this year’s event are:

Dr. Carl J. Schramm, president and CEO of the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation and one of the country’s leading thinkers on entrepreneurship; and
Becky Anderson, executive director of HandMade in America, a nonprofit organization promoting community economic development through craft

“We’ve got an excellent slate lined up for New Mexico’s business leaders, economic developers, and entrepreneurs,” said Economic Development Cabinet Secretary Fred Mondragon. “Session topics will include Breaking into International Markets, Business Incubation, and Tribal Entrepreneurship, among others.”

Early registration costs $175. After August 30, the cost is $225. To register early (and save $50) log on to Scholarship applications are also available. To learn more about registration, contact Lisa Walker: 866-963-6600.

The 2007 Governor’s Summit on Economic Development is sponsored by the New Mexico Economic Development Department, the City of Albuquerque, ENMR Plateau, NM IDEA, Regional Development Corporation, New Mexico Rural Alliance, Qwest, Public Service Company of New Mexico, New Mexico Manufacturing Extension Partnership, and EBS Initiative.

Sunday, June 3, 2007

NMSU StoryCast: Film Concept Camp

NMSU's Creative Media Institute has taken a really neat approach to the bootcamp concept with its StoryCasting Camp for Teenage Filmmakers -- which started June 1st.

Visit their site (above) and read the article (link to full story at: )

High school and middle school students from across the state are spending the next 10 days on the campus of New Mexico State University, learning the ins and outs of creative media.

StoryCast: A camp for teenaged filmmakers, which began Friday, is hosted by the NMSU Creative Media Institute. The 20 participating students have been tasked with creating ideas that could produce stories and movie shorts, which they had to pitch to a group of NMSU film instructors.

The catch? The story line had to in some way involve the state of New Mexico.

StoryCast is the first camp of its kind conducted at the NMSU campus.

Too bad, said NMSU senior Nick Chamberlain, who is one of the chaperones for the students. Chamberlain, a 21-year-old cinema major, said he wished they had a program like this when he was younger.