To view a copy of Mesilla's ordinance that establishes filming fees, and permit instructions and application, click here.

MESILLA — Lights, camera, checkbook.

Movie production companies, nonprofit film producers and student film projects who want to film movies in Mesilla are going to have to pay daily permit fees. Town trustees unanimously approved an ordinance Monday that establishes a fee schedule for making movies within the town.

The ordinance goes into effect Saturday night. Daily fees will range from $10 a day for film students and nonprofit organizations to $25 for feature-length films and commercials.

"Mesilla is becoming more and more attractive to film producers," Mayor Michael Cadena said. "Because of that, this is just to streamline the process so that everyone (within town government) is notified. We're not looking to make a profit, (but) just to cover our costs."

The fees were established with assistance from the Creative Media Institute, at New Mexico State University. The institute coordinates much of the motion picture filming that has been conducted in southern New Mexico.

Crystal Downs, CMI film liaison, said the fees are structured to help Mesilla's small-town government recoup expenses that would likely be incurred for assisting large movie companies that would film there.

"These fees are actually low," Downs said. "In the larger metropolitan areas most big cities charge $300 a day or $1,000 minimum."

Mesilla becomes the first community in southern New Mexico to establish daily film production fees. But Downs said the fees likely won't prevent film companies from coming to Mesilla.

"A very attractive rebate program is already in place in New Mexico," Downs said. "Because of that, New Mexico currently stands number three in desirable locations to shoot films."

In the past two months, shooting for three films has been conducted in Mesilla.

Robert Garza, assistant city manager in Las Cruces, said no fees are charged to production companies who come to the city to film.

"It's a goodwill gesture, but in reality the city has profited quite well from movie companies that have already come here," Garza said. "They've already poured quite a bit of money into the city's gross receipts tax."

Trustee Nora Barraza said a clean industry, such as film making, will be welcome in Mesilla.

"It's a good move for the town," said Barraza, of establishing the fee schedule. "The process will just make things easier."

Steve Ramirez can be reached at

It'll cost you

• $25 — Per day user and administration fee for motion pictures or commercials.

• $10 — Per day user and administration fee for student or nonprofit filming.

• $38 — Per hour fee for each Marshal's Department deputy needed for support, if security, traffic control, or road closures are required during filming.

• $30 — Per hour fee for Fire Department support if a brush truck with two firefighters is needed.

• $60 — Per hour fee for Fire Department support if an engine with four firefighters is needed.

• $150 — Refundable cleaning and damage deposit.

• Also: If motion pictures or commercials are filmed on the Mesilla Plaza, standard rental fees, ranging from $132 to $1,000 a day, will also be required. The Plaza rental fee for a student or nonprofit film will be $10 a day.

Source: Town of Mesilla