Wednesday, April 9, 2008

NMWIF Recap; NM in the News

I always think it's important to be aware of the coverage New Mexico receives in the media decision makers and opinion leaders consume. And while it may not be obvious that the NM 'brand' should be part of our individual sales kits, it does seem important to the people we talk with. The idea that New Mexico is a hub for artistic work and technology innovation; that the people are friendly and the air is clean -- and that a lot of serious people are doing serious work here helps reinforce New Mexico's position as one of the better options to choose from (instead of, say, breaking exciting new ground in Connecticut).

Bonny Dore's talk at the most recent meeting of NM Women in Film really reinforced this notion for me. The fact that one of the first things she referred to was last Friday's article in the LA Times (New Mexico Works for its 'Tamalewood' Title), saying that producers were reading the story of hollywood production working nicely here was a sign that our campaign has been working.  

Bonny had many good tips for growing New Mexico's Women in Film Chapter, and the state in general, suggesting we had some solid strategic advantages with our state's production experience, trained crews, days of sunshine and friendly climate (as opposed to, say, Michigan), and our clean air and beautiful light (as opposed to, say, LA).  The incentives may have come up to.

It was a valuable experience -- and nice to tour Production Central as well.  Thanks to NM Women in Film for the event. 

Variety covered us nicely in a couple other articles this past week:
Generic Locales Important to Producers
from Variety:
In the business of marketing locations, what makes one spot like everywhere else can often be as important as what sets it apart.

"I've been asked 'Where's your generic cul-de-sac?' Where's your anywhere USA?' " says Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Commission.

"Film offices usually look for what's unique. What's the anchor that's going to draw production? But generic is important, too," Strout says, noting the state's location photo database now includes the commonplace.

"Can we do Bayou? No," Strout adds, "but we can all do generic."
Also in Variety:
US Lures Back Flyaway Productions
Like migratory birds, film production is kicking in the afterburners on its continuing return flight to the U.S., given loft by the cratering U.S. dollar and ever-more-competitive state incentive programs. "There's a tremendous amount of interest in North America because of the exchange rate," says Bill Lindstrom, CEO of the Assn. of Film Commissioners Intl., noting an American buck that was trading at 64¢ vs. the euro and $1.02 vs. the Canadian dollar as of April 1, both historical lows.

"The United States is the best value in the world for film production right now," says Lakeshore Entertainment prexy and co-chair Gary Lucchesi. The vet producer has made films in London, Eastern Europe and most recently New Zealand ("Underworld: Rise of the Lycans"), but Lakeshore's next two films are slated for Los Angeles -- "The Ugly Truth" (teaming Gerard Butler and Katherine Heigl) and Jason Stratham starrer "Crank II: High Voltage."

Now old pros at the incentive game, hot spots like Louisiana and New Mexico are finding that their aggressive programs meld neatly with the meek greenback.

Since 2003, Louisiana has seen film spending in the form of wages, profits, sales taxes, etc., increase from $7.4 million in 2003 to nearly $342 million last year, according to the Producers Guild of America.

New Mexico -- which, along with Oklahoma was one of the first states to enact incentives back in 2002 -- has seen its film rev grow from $1.5 million in 2001 to an estimated $476 million in 2007, with such notable productions as "Transformers," "3:10 to Yuma," "In the Valley of Elah" and "No Country for Old Men" shooting in the state.

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