Tuesday, May 27, 2008

The CUP @ Santa Fe Studios

SILVER LION FILMS AND MYRIAD PICTURES
TO PRODUCE ‘THE CUP’
Santa Fe Studios’ Lance Hool will Produce

Santa Fe, NM–May 22, 2008 – Santa Fe Studios CEO, Lance Hool, in conjuction with Silver Lion Films and Myriad Pictures is pleased to announce THE CUP, starring Ray Winstone and Stephen Curry.

At the heart of this true story is Damien Oliver, a young jockey who loses his only brother in a tragic racing accident, hauntingly reflecting of the way their father died 27 years earlier. Teaming with Irish trainer Dermot Weld and after suffering through a series of discouraging defeats Damien triumphs at the Australian Melbourne Cup in one of the most thrilling finales in all of sport.

Ray Winstone, lauded for his outstanding performances in BEOWOLF and THE DEPARTED is cast as Dermot Weld, who is routinely ranked as the world’s finest thoroughbred trainer. Ray, who co-stars in “Indiana Jones and the Crystal Skull”, which was shot in New Mexico, is currently the toast of the Cannes film festival where the latest Indiana Jones was premiered. He is represented by David Unger at ICM.

Stephen Curry will play the jockey Damien Oliver. He is one of Australia’s most acclaimed young actors, winning Best Lead Actor at the 2007 Australian Film Awards for television drama as well as Most Outstanding Actor at the 2008 Logie Awards (Australia’s Emmys) for his performance in THE KING. Stephen is repped by Katherine Dodd at Creative Management, Sydney.

THE CUP will be directed by Simon Wincer who wrote the script with Eric O’Keefe. Wincer, who recently directed “Comanche Moon” in New Mexico, is producing. Lance Hool of Santa Fe Studios and Myriad Pictures’ Kirk D’Amico are set to executive produce.

Hool is known for producing such successful features as MAN ON FIRE and CROCODILE DUNDEE Production on THE CUP is set to begin September 2008. The film will be shot on location in Ireland and Melbourne.

THE CUP is being made in association with Village Roadshow Australia and the Film Finance Corporation.

For more information, please contact:

Jennifer Hoffman
jenniferh@ballantinespr.com
Tel: 505-216-0889
Cell: 505-603-8643
Ballantines PR
http://www.ballantinespr.com

Saturday, May 24, 2008

Terminator Salvation: The End Begins



Looking for updated info on the Terminator Salvation shoot?

The Warner Bros official site is now live at: http://rss.warnerbros.com/terminatorsalvation/

Not totally exciting just yet, but there's a blog from director McG and... we're hoping lots of love for Albuquerque Studios and New Mexico.

Friday, May 23, 2008

Terminator Update


One year out from the announced release date, (Happy -1!), and there are a slew of new stories out there (or here) on the internet today about Terminator Salvation, which, as everyone knows, is filming here in New Mexico. Turns out they're mostly the same story, driven by a Warner Bros. press release including a sketch of the new plotline along with an update on the cast (unfortunately Claire Danes won't be returning to New Mexico this time).

Also out there is the new 'teaser' website that, as of this moment, is just a black screen. Check out the action at http://www.terminatorsalvation.com/ (I believe skynet is scheduled to go live sometime today).

From Slashfilm:
Terminator 4: New Casting and Story Details Revealed
Posted on Thursday, May 22nd, 2008 at 7:26 pm by: Peter Sciretta

Warner Bros sent out a press release announcing the start of production on Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins (wait, didn’t they decide to change the title a while back? I’m confused…) And yes, this press release is a tad bit late, considering the film began lensing in Albuquerque, New Mexico almost two and a half weeks ago (May 5th). If it’s old news, then why report it at all? Well because the press release features a brand now plot synopsis:

In the highly anticipated new installment of The Terminator film franchise, set in post-apocalyptic 2018, Christian Bale stars as John Connor, the man fated to lead the human resistance against Skynet and its army of Terminators. But the future Connor was raised to believe in is altered in part by the appearance of Marcus Wright (Sam Worthington), a stranger whose last memory is of being on death row. Connor must decide whether Marcus has been sent from the future, or rescued from the past. As Skynet prepares its final onslaught, Connor and Marcus both embark on an odyssey that takes them into the heart of Skynet’s operations, where they uncover the terrible secret behind the possible annihilation of mankind. The film also stars Anton Yelchin as Kyle Reese, Charlotte Gainsbourg as Kate Connor, Moon Bloodgood as Blair Williams, Common as Barnes, and Jadagrace as Star.

Notice the new release features two new casting tidbits:

Charlotte Gainsbourg (The Science of Sleep, 21 Grams), as Kate Connor, a character introduced in Terminator 3 as Kate Brewster, played by Claire Danes. If you remember correctly Brewster was actually the one who sent the last terminator back in time to protect John, as Connor was said to have been assassinated on July 4th 2032 by a T-850. Judging by the character’s name, it appears that Kate and John have since gotten married. The film begins 14 years before his assassination. However, one must wonder if that plot point may change now that John knows it is coming.

And no, we have no idea Jadagrace is. She’s not listed on IMDb, and Warner Bros doesn’t yet have bio information available. We did some digging and found that someone named Jadagrace Gordy is listed as a former student of Gary Spatz’s The Playground (started in 2005), a conservatory for young actors. Yes, YOUNG actors. Interesting… We’ll keep you update.

Principal photography is taking place at the Albuquerque Studios and on location throughout New Mexico. Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins hits theaters on May 22nd 2009.
asimo(Not a T-850)
Image by Joits via Flickr
I've written before that star power (Christian Bale is pretty popular) and big budget movies' PR campaigns are one major benefit driven by New Mexico's generous incentives and support for film production; it would be almost impossible to buy the coverage we're currently getting for Terminator and Indiana Jones. However, how much would it cost if we could?

Is that kind of PR and marketing value included in our Legislative Finance Committee's considerations?

Wednesday, May 21, 2008

Santa Fe's Media District...

From Zane's World at the Santa Fe Reporter, Zane Fischer discusses the potential impact of troubles at the College of Santa Fe -- and plans for Santa Fe Studios:
Zane's World: Power Steering
By Zane Fischer




Gary Bastien’s concept site plan for Santa Fe Studios borrows from Taos Pueblo and Anasazi tenets. But it might be cool anyway. Courtesy Santa Fe Studios
...While we’re waiting for that lemonade-from-lemons solution, the county at least is demonstrating how serious it is about its economic development agenda. Not everyone agrees that Santa Fe needs Santa Fe Studios, the gargantuan but elegant (at least conceptually) movie studio facility that received a unanimous green light from the Board of County Commissioners last month. There are pointed concerns about water use, scale, traffic, light pollution, etc. But the county is wise to the most salient point of the economic development plan, which the City of Santa Fe approved in 2004: Change is coming and we have the option to control it or to be controlled by it. The county’s creation of the Community College District, with its progressive zoning, its emphasis on centralized densities and shared open space, and required sustainable practice through water and energy efficiency, is exemplary of steering change in a positive direction. That it went on to transform a dead business park location, through further zoning designation, into a “media district,” is grabbing the steering wheel and working the accelerator all at once. It almost makes the wanton destruction of the old Paramount building last week forgivable. There’s currently only one other such specially zoned district in the country, and that’s in studio-heavy Burbank, Calif. The county zoning allows for some uncommon features in northern New Mexico, such as an 80-foot height cap. But Country Growth Management Director Jack Kolkmeyer believes the district’s proximity to the already-oversized jail and state penitentiary mitigates such concerns.

“No one wants to live very close to those two things. Our option was to build storage units or to come up with something more dynamic,” he says.

Concerns about height, water (the county already has 25 acre feet set aside for economic development initiatives) and everything else will be addressed at an “open house” on Wednesday, May 21. Beginning at 6 pm in the Jemez Room at the Santa Fe Community College, representatives from the county, Santa Fe Studios, the New Mexico Film Office, the Community College and the IATSE Local 480 film union will be on hand to discuss the benefits and challenges of the proposed studio. The BCC meeting at 10 am, Tuesday, May 27, is expected to clear any remaining hurdles. In the event that everything proceeds as planned over the coming week, Jason Hool of the Santa Fe- and Hollywood-based family that is backing Santa Fe Studios, says that a groundbreaking should occur before the end of the year, with a 12-month timetable to complete the first phase of a 48-acre build-out.

Architect Gary Bastien’s considerations of the site and willingness to meet and exceed the efficiency standards of the Community College District are on track for meeting the dual—and nearly opposing—standards of a good fit with the landscape and a significant design attraction. Bastien is something of a studio specialist and his recent Ciudad de la Luz project in Alicante, Spain, though leaning toward a corporate aesthetic and not wholly inspiring, also is inoffensive and appears to be site-appropriate. Under questioning, Hool, Kolkmeyer and Senior County Economic Development Planner Robert Griego, have thoughtful and well-developed answers to the tough questions they are likely to face from the community. The likely economic impact of Santa Fe Studios, from initial construction through annual operating, gross receipts taxes, etc., will be tremendous.

Will Santa Fe Studios ultimately be a good cultural partner for the region? The plans are there for the appropriate collaborations, the language is being used. So, we’ll see. But for the time being, it fits perfectly into Santa Fe’s role in the state’s media industries strategic plan (MISP), as well as the county’s economic development plan. It’s good to see at least a few plans being implemented. Maybe whoever’s drawing up a plan to save the College of Santa Fe ought to share it with the rest of us.
More at: Zane's World: Power Steering

Tuesday, May 20, 2008

Regal to Add 3D

From the New York Times (reported by Bloomberg)
Regal Plans to Add 3-D Movie Screens

The Regal Entertainment Group, the world’s largest cinema operator, has reached an agreement to equip 1,500 screens to show three-dimensional films.

The accord, with Real D, will allow Regal to show 3-D movies in most American markets, the company, based in Knoxville, Tenn., said in a statement on Tuesday.

Regal will install the technology once Digital Cinema Implementation Partners, a group of theater exhibitors, completes plans for an industry conversion to digital projectors.

Studios are producing more films in 3-D. DreamWorks Animation SKG and Walt Disney’s Pixar unit pledged to make 3-D versions of every film starting next year.

NM Video Game Uprising!


From the NM Business Weekly:
Calling All Geeks!

By Megan Kamerick

Attention downtown Albuquerque convenience stores: Load up on the energy drinks and junk food. The gamers are coming.

Memorial Day weekend will usher in a new event that industry advocates hope will be one more piece in the gaming puzzle for Albuquerque.

The National Video Game Association's Super Con is the brainchild of Jason Montoya, one of the founding members of the association and owner of the New Mexico chapter, X-topia, one of seven in the U.S. The three-day event will take place at the Albuquerque Convention Center and feature workshops, speakers on the gaming industry and, of course, gaming and gaming tournaments.

Montoya said the E3 Media and Business Summit in California used to be the top place for gamers to go, but it became so large (upwards of 60,000 attendees), that it is now open only to industry professionals.

"This was the opportunity we saw," Montoya said. "There is a huge vacuum for players, and companies that want to touch players."

He wants to make this an annual event for Albuquerque, with a large national following. This year, he estimates getting 250 to 500 attendees. X-topia's local events routinely attract at least 200, Montoya said.

He is working with the other National Video Game Association chapters to publicize the event and also using certain Web sites and online gaming forums. Sponsors for the Super Con include GameStop, Play N Trade, Gamers Anonymous, Computer Power User magazine, Vroom Foods and Geeks.com.

Luke Nihlen, who works with Albuquerque game development firm Abalone Studios and owns the company Tenth Artist, will conduct a game design workshop with Jonathan Whetzel from Sandia National Laboratories and Eric Renz-Whitmore, chapter president of the International Game Developers Association. Attendees will learn basic game development, then come up with an idea or a demo and pitch it to a panel of judges for a cash prize.

Nihlen said events like this one help get the game industry in New Mexico out of a stalemate.

"Students are interested in games -- over half of them want to make games. The industry will double in size in the next two years and we need talent," Nihlen said. "But I think a lot of kids don't take the idea of working in the game industry seriously in Albuquerque because they don't see it here and they don't see it in schools. The schools aren't talking about it, and the industry's not coming here because they don't see a talent pool."

More at Calling All Geeks!

And... the folks at Novint have jumped in in a big way, setting up some special tournaments for Falcon-optimized games. Read more at the Novint Blog.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Variety covers... NM

Two more articles in Variety the other day that feature New Mexico... which shouldn't really be a surprise; so much is happening here.

Last Thursday, they did a run-down of the five best states for incentives, listing New Mexico as #2. Somewhat annoying, I think, is the note that in recent years we had "scant facilities and hardly any qualified local crew" though they do note we now have Albuquerque Studios and that the crew situation is being remedied.

For more info on Louisiana, Connecticut, New York and Michigan (and us) visit: Rebates are Blooming in these States

On Sunday, they focus on writer/director Rupert Wyatt, whose "The Escapist" was picked up at Sundance for distribution by ThinkFilm.

In Wyatt Preps Trio of Features Variety discusses the projects which--
...will percolate while Wyatt next directs "The Trail," a drama he scripted with "The Escapist" co-writer Daniel Hardy.

Story follows two soldiers on a base in New Mexico who are led by a Native American woman up a trail to find her brother, who has been badly hurt in mysterious circumstances.

Pic is financed by Vertigo (the U.K. distributor of "The Escapist," whose James Richardson will produce with Ben Freedman, Wyatt's Picture Farm partner. It will shoot in September in New Mexico.

Think Film will distribute "The Escapist," which debuted at Sundance.

NM Filmmakers Showcase THIS WEEK!



It does seem like many things in our media world keep getting better.

Among them is the NM Film Office's NM Filmmakers Showcase. When it started a few years back, some of the pieces were a little questionable. Now, looking at the list, it's really tough to figure which blocks you really need to see -- seems like quite a few of them.

It all kicks off with a special reception on Wednesday night:

WHAT: MEET THE FILMMAKERS OPENING RECEPTION
WHERE: Laru ni Hati/Café Cubano, 3413 Central Avenue, NE in Albuquerque (a few doors down from the Guild Theater)
WHEN: Opening night, May 15, 2008, from 6-7pm

The showcase itself runs through the 18th. For more info -- and to download the full program, visit the MISP website's Events Page.

Variety Covers NM Studio Growth

Variety covers the planned addition of another studio here in New Mexico here:
New Mexico Brings Green to Studio
...Santa Fe Studios received a greenlight from Santa Fe's county commissioners late last month. The multiphase project, destined for construction in the business park on New Mexico Highway 14, will include full-service, Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design-certified green production facilities, promising 500 jobs and an anticipated $300 million annual impact on the local economy.

The pueblo-style campus facility, expected to be operational by the end of 2009, will include 10 sound stages encompassing 500,000 square feet, built over phases, and will incorporate the entire pre-, principal and post-production cycle.

On hand to bolster the battle for passage of the resolution were CEO Lance Hool, chief operating officer Conrad Hool and prexy Jason Hool, along with Santa Fe Studios board member Gary Credle, Warner Bros. exec VP, administration and studio operations.

The overlappingSanta Fe and Albuquerque production zones are only 60 miles apart. They offer unique locations and split the existing crew base. Albuquerque, the state's largest city, offers a wide variety of urban looks, doubling for Dallas, Los Angeles and sometimes (barely) New York. The state's capital of Santa Fe, once the center of production, is small and quaint, boasting three Western sets/towns plus Las Golondrinas (a living museum that doubles as a Mexican village). Near Santa Fe is Las Vegas, N.M. (a double for the Midwest and period settings from turn of the century through the '50s), as well as Georgia O'Keeffe's home, Ghost Ranch.

Albuquerque reaped the benefits of a recent increase in urban films lensing in New Mexico, and the fully booked 16-month-old Albuquerque Studios contributed to the influx. However, state-of-the-art soundstages in Santa Fe could once again split film production and boost the state's already thriving film production schedule.

"The idea of the first 'green studio' being built in Santa Fe, N.M., is very exciting to us," said Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office. "Gov. Bill Richardson has initiated progressive pieces of legislation over the past few years to encourage environmentally friendly businesses and practices, and New Mexico was the first state to create a green filmmaking program."

Terminator 4 Powers Ahead

Things continue to roll despite the possibility of an actors strike.

From thestar.com:
Cameras began rolling this week on the latest Terminator movie – estimated to cost about $150 million U.S. – for what many Hollywood watchers say is a late start given concerns that labour tensions could lead to an actors strike by July.

Terminator Salvation: The Future Begins, began shooting Monday in New Mexico, bucking a trend in which studios have mostly avoided launching new productions they cannot be sure of completing before the Screen Actors Guild contract expires on June 30.

But don't look for the Governator in this one. Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines (2003) was the last film in the franchise to star Arnold Schwarzenegger as the unstoppable cyborg from the future who made the line, "I'll be back," a worldwide catchphrase.

The fourth Terminator is set to reach theaters in May 2009.
I know a few of us think we'll see California Governor Schwarzenegger out here -- for something. But he's a little concerned about big movie productions (like Terminator) leaving the state, so it seems a little less likely.

As reported in Moviehole.net, Schwarzenegger says, "I've never had a dialogue with anyone about it. But if they shoot the movie in California, I would (be a part of it), yes”

Breaking Bad Renewed -- in New Mexico


AMCTV is doing some very cool things (among them, having Darren Aronofsky of Pi and Requiem for a Dream produce a new show involving the supernatural). Even cooler is that they've renewed Breaking Bad -- and intend to keep production here in New Mexico.

From AMC:
AMC announced yesterday that it will renew Breaking Bad for a second season.

"From critical praise to strong ratings and a devoted audience, Breaking Bad further reinforced AMC as a top producer of high-quality, distinctive television," said Charlie Collier, Executive Vice President and General Manager of AMC. "Breaking Bad is a powerful, intelligent and thought-provoking series that clearly resonated with viewers and critics alike. We're excited for a second season of Breaking Bad with new and provocative storylines that will delve deeper into the next chapter in the life of Walter White." The second season, unlike the first which ran a brief seven episodes due to the writer's strike, will consist of thirteen episodes, the same number as Mad Men's Season 1 and upcoming Season 2.
And from Futon Critic, which goes deep on details:
..."Vince, Mark and Bryan have raised the bar to a new level, and to see their efforts recognized with this pickup shows that great writing and great acting is really what it's all about," said Zack Van Amburg, co-president, programming and production, Sony Pictures Television.

To date, Breaking Bad has reached approximately 20 million total viewers and more than 14 million households on AMC. Overall, the series garnered a notable .90 HH rating and delivered 825,000 homes, increasing the network's 2007 primetime average by +4% and +5%, respectively.

Among the coveted 25-54 demo, all seven premiere episodes of Breaking Bad performed well: +36% stronger in both A25-54 (641,000) and M25-54 (379,000) viewers versus AMC's 2007 primetime performance.

Breaking Bad had immense appeal among Men and Adults 18-34. Delivery of M18-34 tripled AMC's 2007 primetime average by +116% and delivery among A18-34 increased by +86%.

The success of Breaking Bad, as well as other noteworthy AMC film titles, helped the network garner its most-watched quarter ever in total day, primetime, fringe and daytime across all key demo deliveries. Year over year, AMC's first quarter 2008 achieved a +4% delivery gain, and is ranked as a top 10 network among basic cable networks (#8) in primetime delivery of Men 25-54.
More details at: Futon Critic

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

DACC Students Win Film Competition


From the Las Cruces Sun-News:

DACC team wins film competition

Sun-News report
Article Launched: 05/05/2008 12:00:00 AM MDT

SANTA FE — A team from Doña Ana Community College has won first place in New Mexico Secretary of State Mary Herrera's student film competition, aimed at encouraging people with disabilities to vote in this year's elections.

Aron Hethcox, who directed the winning entry, "That's My Vote," said his team "wanted to make (its) script jump out."

"We are all equal when it comes to voting and that's what we wanted to demonstrate. It's an honor for our team to win the competition. We wanted our voices heard and they were," Hethcox said.

Art Scheriber, president of the National Federation of the Blind of New Mexico, called the production "sensitive, informed and inspiring."

The DACC team's winning 30-second public service announcement earned members $750 and their film will be offered for broadcast statewide.

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Crash TV Series, Spirit Update, Santa Fe Studios

From the Albuquerque Journal... a lot of good info from Dan Mayfield...

New Television Series to 'Crash' into Duke City This Summer
Posted on: Friday, 2 May 2008, 12:00 CDT
By Reel N.M. DAN MAYFIELD Of the Journal

Last Saturday, at the Arts Alliance Awards, Judy Anderson, president of the association, heralded Lester Berman, a local producer who brought the hit show "Wildfire" to New Mexico, and city of Albuquerque film liaison Ann Lerner.

Lerner won the Alliance's President's Award, the association's highest award, for her work over the past five years on helping the state's film industry get a foothold in Albuquerque.

Anderson said Berman will be working on a new television show, a small-screen version of the hit movie "Crash," in Albuquerque.

Berman later confirmed the show will shoot in New Mexico.

Of course "Crash" the movie dealt with pretty heavy issues -- prejudice, bigotry, hatred, the worst side of society.

Los Angeles was the setting of the movie, but Albuquerque is the choice of setting for the new television version. Not because we're horrible people, but because all of our lives seem to intertwine here in the desert. My buddies often call it "Smallbuquerque."

Variety reported in January that the show has been picked up for 13 episodes by the Starz network as its first original drama.

The TV show is an adaptation of the 2005 movie.

Berman said details are still scarce from Lionsgate, the production company.

If Berman's name rings a bell, it's because he's been in the film business for decades, but most recently as a producer of the hit TV show "Wildfire" for ABC Family network. "Wildfire" was filmed in Albuquerque, Rio Rancho and Algodones and because it was canceled earlier this year, it has been the subject of many "Save Wildfire" campaigns.

Because of Berman's experience making four seasons of "Wildfire" here, he said he pushed to have "Crash" made here as well.

We don't know where the new show will take place. In the movie, it was L.A., but it wouldn't be the first time Albuquerque has doubled for the City of Angels -- as it did in the pilot for "Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles."

Just as lives collide in the movie, the TV show has some interesting connections. Paul Haggis, director of the movie, also directed

"In the Valley of Elah," filmed in Albuquerque. The rapper Ludacris, who was in "Crash," made a cameo appearance in "Game," filmed in Albuquerque last year. Don Cheadle, who acted in and produced "Crash," has been reported to be producing the TV version.

MORE CRASHES:

Lionsgate's movie arm also made "Will Eisner's The Spirit," which filmed most of last year at Albuquerque Studios.

"The Spirit" now has a release date and a trailer on its Web site, which looks a lot like director Frank Miller's other film, "Sin City."

Lionsgate will release the movie Jan. 16, 2009, Miller announced at last week's New York ComicCon -- where Miller is a superstar. The Web site (mycityscreams.com) has a trailer, posters and a synopsis.

The movie stars Scarlett Johansson as the femme fatale Silken Floss, Samuel L. Jackson as villain The Octopus and Gabriel Macht as The Spirit.

Though the trailer looks a lot like Sin City, in simple black, white and red, the final project is expected to look nothing like Sin City. The movie was made entirely in front of a green screen at Albuquerque Studios. Though it takes place in a city, no buidlings were actually shot. It's all fake. Miller wrote and produced "300," wrote the "RoboCop" sequels and is expected to direct two "Sin City" sequels. He's also an accomplished comic book writer.

SANTA FE MEGA-STUDIO:

There are just a few loose ends to tie up, but Santa Fe is on track to get a large studio complex of its own. Soon.

It's great news for everyone north of Albuquerque, where the only large indoor studio space has been the College of Santa Fe's Garson Studios.

The family of Lance, Jason and Conrad Hool of Santa Fe Studios make a good business case for it.

"It's become clear to me that what we need is infrastructure," Lance Hool said.

Albuquerque Studios south of Albuquerque is quite the place. One tour, and your mind would be blown by what a competent director can do there. One look at the trailer for "The Spirit" and you'll be convinced. That entire film was made at Albuquerque Studios.

And, with that comes a horde of people wanting to make movies there. Right now, Albuquerque Studios is pretty much all booked up with "Terminator 4," and that leaves very little largestudio space here for other pictures.

So, the Hools figure, the time is right to build another giant studio, and they're probably right. Several major projects -- television and film -- are expected to shoot in the state soon. And in 2009? What about 2010? New Mexico's film industry, if it continues its recordsetting pace through then, will absolutely need a second major studio space.

Of course the Hools aren't the only ones trying to build a studio. A while back, Lionsgate announced it was trying to build a studio in Rio Rancho. There's been talk of several others as well -- in Budaghers, in Midtown and maybe even another in Rio Rancho. But, Santa Fe Studios is much, much larger -- up to 500,000 square feet.

The Hools have friends in high places -- from the Governor's Office to Gary Credle, executive vice president of administration and studio operations for Warner Bros. -- who came to speak on their behalf at Tuesday's Santa Fe County Commission meeting.

Lance Hool has been an actor, producer and writer and was chairman of a film distribution company and is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Science. Conrad Hool has worked with several big name stars but is a production professional. Jason Hool has an international business background, who's worked with FIAT Auto, Nokia and the London Underground.

But, of course, there's some city-to-city competition here. Santa Fe doesn't want to see Albuquerque take over the market for all the upcoming films that need studio time, even though Santa Fe stars in plenty of films that have used the mountains and deserts around the City Different -- from "The Missing" to "Beer for My Horses."

Best-case scenario, the Santa Fe Studios could be built and open for business in about 20 months, according to the company.

The county commission gave preliminary, and unanimous, approval on Tuesday for the project.

The County of Santa Fe has stepped up to make this one happen. The county is using several economic development tools to get the studio going, from industrial revenue bonds to tax increment financing to its one-of-a-kind media district south of Santa Fe, created last year.

The media district, an ingenious idea, allows the studios to build outside of traditional Santa Fe-style, erect giant lights or make a whole lot of noise. The district's only neighbors are prisoners on the other side of Interstate 25.

For Albuquerque, though, this could be the start of a sea change. Though Albuquerque has become a major center of production, this could transfer major films to Santa Fe and northern New Mexico.

And that's not lost on Santa Fe.

Friday, May 2, 2008

ENMU Film Festival Sunday

ENMU Film Festival Screening is Sunday
Posted on: Thursday, 1 May 2008, 15:00 CDT
By Sarah Meyer, The Portales News-Tribune, N.M.

May 1--Eastern New Mexico University will host its first film festival from 1-5 p.m. Sunday at the University Theatre Center.

The High Plains Film Festival will feature a Martin Luther King Jr. documentary, filmed in 1969, and a discussion led by the editor of the film, Jack Sholder.

After a break for refreshments, the winning films will be shown and discussed...

Michael Sitton, dean of ENMU's College of Fine Arts, said the event will be an opportunity for the audience to see the MLK documentary and hear from its editor about what it was like to work in the 1960s. It will also be a chance "to see the wonderful creativity" expressed in the festival entries, he said.

Janeice Scarbrough, a member of the event's organizing committee, said the film festival was planned to draw attention to the university's new cinema arts degree and as an opportunity for students.

"It's every young filmmaker's dream to have someone in the industry look at their work," Scarbrough said.

The judges include Sholder; Joan Leslie, a distinguished film actress; Diana Ossana, an academy-award winning screenwriter; and Eric Witt, director of legislative and political affairs, and media arts and entertainment development for Gov. Bill Richardson's office.

"Any time we can get our governor involved, it's just wonderful," Scarbrough said.

"We have some very wonderful films -- every type and style you can imagine," she said.

Witt said he was impressed by the quality of the entries.

"There's clearly some production talent out on the High Plains," he said. "Tremendous interest is shown in the number and range of entries."

The festival will serve to showcase talent in the region and "encourage development of our (New Mexico's) own indigenous film base," Witt said.

Sitton noted that many movies are being made in the state.

"We're interested in tapping into that developing industry," he said.

Vartabedian said university officials plan to continue the film festival and dream of it becoming a major event, like Sundance or Taos.

The winning entries in each of four categories -- pre-college, animation, documentary/experimental and dramatic -- will each receive $500...

Attendance is free, but those who plan to attend are asked to call 562-2373 so enough refreshments (think movie theater snacks) can be provided and so that organizers can plan for an overflow crowd if necessary.

-----

To read the full article, visit ENMU Film Festival Screening is Sunday