Monday, February 11, 2008

Local Film Investment Bill Passes NM House

How can New Mexico as a State encourage more locally generated production -- that's been a question in play since the early development of the state's Media Industries Strategy. One plan, HB634, has now cleared a few major hurdles, and is now heading to the NM Senate with only a few days left in this legislative session. Please take a look at the bill (link below) and give what support you can.

From The Associated Press

SANTA FE—A measure that supporters say would allow local filmmakers to take part in New Mexico's film production bonanza passed a divided House on Sunday.

The bill, which went to the Senate, allows the State Investment Council to invest up to one-half of 1 percent of the market value of the Severance Tax Permanent Fund in local independent or minority filmmakers.

No investment could be more than $5 million.

The state investment officer could make no-interest loans to independent or minority filmmakers who met certain criteria.

They could be required, for example, to do 80 percent of the principal photography in New Mexico, to have a payroll that is 60 percent New Mexican, and to have some of the principal participants—the director or producer or leading cast member, for example—be New Mexicans or minorities.

The bill's sponsor, House Speaker Ben Lujan, D-Santa Fe, and other backers said the State Investment Council's existing film loan program has too many hurdles for local filmmakers, such as the requirement for a producer to have distribution agreements.

"Quite frankly, the current program has been targeted toward California and Hollywood," said Rep. Peter Wirth, D-Santa Fe.

Opponents said the legislation wouldn't accomplish the purpose, because out-of-state filmmakers would figure out ways to hold themselves out as residents, and locals would still be left in the lurch.

The bill passed the House on a vote of 42-25 and went to the Senate, with four days left in the legislative session.

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The film bill is HB634.

To learn more about this and other bills this legislative session, visit: http://www.legis.state.nm.us

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