Sunday, June 1, 2008

Las Cruces Area Update

Things are really happening in the Southern part of the state. With NMSU's Creative Media Institute, a new area film liaison, and production facility ideas percolating, we're seeing more and more action -- helping make film (and media) truly a statewide industry. Here's a brief update from the Las Cruces Sun Times (visit the article for more):

Searching for Hollywood? It's closer than you think

By S. Derrickson Moore Sun-News reporter

LAS CRUCES —It was a very big week for Cruceswood, aka Hollywood on the Rio Grande.

It started with a private screening of "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull" May 22 at Telshor 12, many hours before the "official" movie opening.

The invitation-only event was packed with assorted state dignitaries, New Mexico Film Commission staff members, regional film liaisons and people from all over New Mexico who had been involved in some way with the long-awaited production.

As fate would have it, I sat next to Brian Foster, manager of the Corralitos Ranch, 15 miles west of Las Cruces one of the film's locations. He was able to clue me in when scenes shot in familiar local territory popped up.


Next up was the private premiere of Shawn Darling's "Grave Mistake," May 25 at the Rio Grand Theatre.

Shawn described it as a zombie movie, with scenes filmed in Las Cruces. He's looking for an independent distribution deal, so maybe the world will soon be able to see zombies cavorting in the City of Crosses.

"We're trying now to arrange a local showing that will be open to the public," said Darling, who wrote, produced, directed and did the score for the film.

Finally, erstwhile Las Cruces resident and OƱate High School teacher LouAnne Johnson is back with a new film project. Johnson had already made the big time before she moved here with her bestseller "My Posse Don't Do Homework," which became the basis for the 1995 blockbuster film "Dangerous Minds," starring Michelle Pfeiffer.

Now she's working with indy filmmaker and Creative Media Institute professor Rod McCall, on CMI's first feature length film, "Becoming Eduardo," based on Johnson's book "Alternative Ed," which McCall said "is about a kid in danger of becoming a gangbanger who ends up being saved by poetry."

Kids at Alma d'Arte, Las Cruces' high school for the arts, auditioned this week for parts in the movie, which will be filmed in Hillsboro and other regional locations. McCall hopes to have it ready for the prestigious Sundance Film Festival in January.

They are looking for help with everything from cars and trucks to fashions. For more information on how you can help with the community-based film effort, check out my blog. Go to and click on blog zone and then Las Cruces Style.

And maybe we'll see you — both in and at — the movies sometime soon.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

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