Sunday, October 12, 2008

Q Studios, Incentives and PBS keep NM in the News

Nice article in the Albuquerque Journal about Q Studios' partnership with Atrisco Heritage High School... (ironically, the easiest way to find many Journal articles is at Red Orbit, which covers "Science, Space, Technology, Health News and Information:

Film Studio Gives Aid To Atrisco ; Albuquerque Studios Adopts High School's Film Program

Posted on: Friday, 10 October 2008, 15:00 CDT

By Jack King Journal Staff Writer

The hardest part of getting into the film business is getting your foot in the door, Gail Smerigan, vice president of communications for Albuquerque Studios told a movie theater full of Atrisco Heritage Academy High School students Wednesday.

"Your foot is in the door," she said.

About 500 Atrisco Heritage students -- the school's entire student body, since it only has a ninth grade this year -- filed into the historic Kimo Theater on Wednesday afternoon to hear Smerigan and her husband, Nick Smerigan, Albuquerque Studios' chief operating officer, announce that the studio is adopting the high school's film academy. The students also got to watch a 3.8-minute preview of the movie "Terminator Salvation," which finished filming at Albuquerque Studios in August.

The Smerigans said their contact with Atrisco Heritage began when principal Karen Sanchez-Griego contacted Jason Hariton, the studio's vice president of operations, for technical help in setting up the sound stage for the school's film academy.

"In L.A., Gail had seen a Time magazine story on the national dropout rate that said New Mexico has the nation's fifth-highest dropout rate. Her thought was that we had to make kids and education part of what we do. We were looking to hook up some way with the education field and this school fit the bill," Nick Smerigan said.

Sanchez-Griego said Atrisco Heritage is building a separate building to hold the sound stage for its film academy, which will open during the 2009-2010 school year. Albuquerque Studios has offered advice about the sound stage, as well as other aspects of Atrisco's film program...

More at the site.
As noted over on the MISP (Media Industries Strategy Project) list, the discussion of how states are dealing with incentives for film production continues -- and New Mexico is always a significant part of those stories. From the New York Times...

States’ Film Production Incentives Cause Jitters

...One of the country’s most successful programs is in New Mexico, which has backed movies like the Oscar-winning “No Country for Old Men” and next year’s “Terminator Salvation,” the latest sequel in the action series, with a reported budget of $200 million.

New Mexico officials boast of having used a 25 percent production cost rebate to build a local film industry that has attracted more than $600 million in direct spending since 2003, and an estimated $1.8 billion in total financial impact, as of last June. And in fiscal year 2008, the productions in the state generated 142,577 days of employment, up from 25,293 in 2004.

Elsewhere, however, critics have sharply challenged the notion that state subsidies for the film business can ever buy more than momentary glitter.

“There’s no evidence yet that this is a particularly efficient or effective way to create jobs,” said Noah Berger, executive director of the Massachusetts Budget and Policy Center...

Somewhat obviously, I'm a fan of New Mexico's incentive programs. But the main thing many other states seem to be missing is that while the incentives are a keystone in our success, our investment in education and infrastructure is perhaps equally important to creating an environment for real industry growth and not just a short term bump driven exclusively by incentives.

Another item keeping New Mexico in the spotlight is our position as a prominent swing state -- one of the reasons PBS will be working this week out of our local KNME. The Live Townhall yesterday with PBS Senior Correspondent Ray Suarez was definitely interesting, and more highlights are coming throughout the week...

One place to catch up on info is at the New Mexico In Focus page.

But here's a brief bit from Democracy for New Mexico:
PBS NewsHour Reports to Air from KNME Studios Next Week; This Sunday: Live
Townhall with Ray Suarez in ABQ
PBS NewsHour with Jim Lehrer puts the
national spotlight on Albuquerque and New Mexico, Monday thru Friday, October
13-17, 2008 at 5:30 PM. Albuquerque is only the second “Spotlight City” The
NewsHour has chosen to highlight.
Senior Correspondents Ray Suarez and Judy Woodruff
will bring the program to the studios of KNME, to examine the crucial role the
city of Albuquerque and the state of New Mexico will play in the upcoming
presidential election. The NewsHour will also profile the unique contributions
Albuquerque is making in business, science healthcare, and the arts. Additional
stories will include: economic disparity, voting machines, getting out the
Native American vote, NM Politics, the economy, etc. KNME airs on channels 5 and
5.2 in New Mexico.

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