Sunday, November 30, 2008

NM Casting Director wins Artios Award

No Country for Old Men (film)Image via Wikipedia
From the Albuquerque Journal:
It's Not an Oscar, But Casting Director Will Happily Take It
Written by Dan Mayfield
Sunday, 30 November 2008 07:29

She may not have won an Oscar yet, but she's getting closer.

Jo Edna Boldin, a casting director who lives in Taos, has won the Artios Award — the biggest award in casting — from the Casting Society of America for her work on the Cohen brothers' film "No Country for Old Men."

"It’s as close to an Oscar as I can get," Boldin said.

The annual award is voted on by casting director' peers. Boldin shared the award for Studio Feature — Drama with Ellen Chenoweth, who cast the major roles.

But Boldin said the award is due to the nature of the project as much as anything.

"This was a project I could relate to, and, growing up in Texas, I knew what they were looking for," she said. "We see a lot of people and, I don’t know, I had an eye for this.

"I know the Cohen brothers like deadpan. Every time someone would do an audition, I would say,'‘Let’s do it again, and do less,' " she said.

Boldin has been nominated for the award several times, as well as an Emmy, but this is her first major win.

Though she’s been casting for 25 years, Boldin stumbled into the business in the 1980s.

"I used to be an actor in L.A., and I took some classes from some commercial casting directors," she said. She learned to cast commercials and smaller projects and took a job at a casting agency while auditioning for gigs herself.

She started her own company in Texas, but, after the movie "The Lazarus Man" with Robert Urich brought her to New Mexico, she fell in love with the state.

"It’s great. We’re staying busy all the time," she said.

Boldin recently cast "Terminator Salvation," "3:10 to Yuma," "Spy Kids," "In The Valley of Elah" and "Swing Vote" and has started working on "Men Who Stare at Goats."

In "No Country for Old Men," Bowdin cast mostly the day-player actors, who happened to be locals. Let's just say that nearly everybody who died in the film auditioned with Bowdin.

Marc Miles (who was killed in a hotel) and Luce Rains (who was offed in a truck) and Dorsey Ray (who doesn't actually die in the movie), were all cast by her...

More at: It's Not an Oscar, But Casting Director Will Happily Take It

More also at Media Bistro.
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Wednesday, November 19, 2008

NM in the News: Denzel Washington Pic / Ramona Emerson

Good News? Having Denzel Washington and Gary Oldman in NM seems like a good idea. From the Albuquerque Journal:
State Antes Up for 'Book of Eli'

By Dan Boyd
Journal Capitol Bureau
SANTA FE — In an economic climate short on cheer, New Mexico is betting on Denzel Washington to bring home some good news.
The State Investment Council on Tuesday approved a $15 million loan for the production of "The Book of Eli," a "post-apocalyptic Western" that will be shot in Albuquerque, Carrizozo, Alamogordo and Santa Fe, starting Feb. 2. Gary Oldman also will star.
The $75 million production by Alcorn Entertainment is the biggest budget film the state has invested in. And with 63 days of filming in the state and 250 crew members, a lot of that $75 million is expected to remain here.
The state will receive 7.5 percent of whatever revenue the film generates after it pays off its budget, although such profit has been elusive in state-sponsored film incentive plans.
If the movie doesn't break even, New Mexico will be guaranteed to have its loan repaid within three years.
"We can't lose our money," said Peter Dekom, film adviser to the State Investment Council. "We want to create jobs for the local economy but not put taxpayers at risk."
"The Book of Eli" is a movie screenplay about a lone man (Washington) walking west after a cataclysmic event, braving barren wastelands to protect a sacred book containing secrets to saving humankind. Most of the filming will be in the Carrizozo area.
The film is the sixth to receive $15 million, the most the state is allowed to lend under its film investment program.
Proponents of the loan deal say movies that offer escapist entertainment haven't skipped a beat, even in economic downturns.
"We're as busy as we have been," said Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office.
New Mexico is still waiting to recoup a profit from most of its previous film investments, though officials say the payback on such loans can take seven or eight years to roll in.
The state has earned $500,000 from "Employee of the Month" and received $305,000 in penalty interest from "Bordertown," which defaulted on its New Mexico loan, said Charles Wollmann, public information officer for the SIC.
Since the film program's first loan in 2001, the state has earned a total of about $900,000 in either profit or interest payments and has, in one way or another, seen all of its loan payments returned, Wollmann said...
More at: State Antes Up for 'Book of Eli'
And KOAT picks up the New Mexico New Visions story...
State Grant Program Helps Local Filmmakers

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. -- State dollars are hard to come by this year, but one state funded program continues to invest in local filmmakers and their visions.

Being a documentary filmmaker is tough,and in a tight economy it can be even more difficult. But Romana Emerson got a gift,in the form of a state contract.

"Especially at a time like this, it really comes in handy," Emerson said.

Emerson is working on a documentary called "Gambling With Our Future." The film will look at the effects of the Navajo Nation building its first casino.

Through the "New Visions, New Mexico" state program, she was given $8,000 to work on her film.

"I don't know how we would've funded the documentary any other way," Emerson said.

Part of Emerson's contract requires her to give back to the film community in some way. Her project will take her back to her home of Tohatchi on the Navajo reservation.

"What are their lives like? What issues are important to them And their friends?" asks Emerson.

Emerson wants to equip Tohatchi High School students with cameras and help them produce their own films.

This is what the state film office calls "The Circle Of Life."

Emerson will train budding filmmakers, so when productions come to New Mexico, there will be plenty of qualified workers to fill open positions.

"I think it will create a whole new generation of people who have a dream of becoming a film maker," said Emerson...
And more at State Grant Program Helps Local Filmmakers

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Monday, November 17, 2008

Production Central

From the NM Business Weekly...
Production Central ABQ
Hollywood vet wants to build state’s film industry, revitalize Downtown
New Mexico Business Weekly - by Megan Kamerick NMBW Staff

Rick Clemente moved to New Mexico from Los Angeles more than a year ago without any big plans.

That has since changed.

“By fall of last year, I was seriously looking to get involved,” he said. “I saw what was going on [in the film business] and I saw a clear need for a post-production and sound facility.”

Clemente opened Production Central ABQ in 2008 and has quickly established a niche in post-production. That’s everything that happens after the traveling circus of a film or television production is done shooting. It’s a big chunk of a production’s budget and government and industry officials say it’s what is necessary to keep more of the film industry’s dollars in the state and create permanent jobs.

Clemente and his wife settled in Corrales, where they met Ann Lerner, director of the city of Albuquerque’s film office. She told him the state production incentives also applied to post-production work. So he prepared to leverage his 30-plus years of production work into a new venture.

Production Central ABQ has snagged a number of clients, including the television series “Crash” and “Easy Money.” The company also was invited to bid on special effects work for the upcoming Jackie Chan production “The Spy Next Door.”

Located in the former Gorilla Tango space at 519 Central NW, the company has six editing suites, a screening room, a complete sound recording studio and color mastering capabilities. Clemente also opened Village Coffee Roasters in the ground-level space to provide his clients (and the Downtown crowd) with a steady stream of espresso. And he decided to jump into Production Central completely and build a comprehensive facility.

“I know you can’t take baby steps and expect to grow a business,” he said. “Almost all Hollywood people are interested in saving money. But they’re not interested in exposing themselves to risk.”

It’s important to have all those things in one place, said Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office.

“It’s a good name and it’s kind of a hub because if you have to go to one person for color correction and another person for something else, [producers] will say ‘I’ll just go to L.A.,’” she said.

Productions like “Crash” have used the sound studio for additional dialog replacement work, which actors record during editing.

Dominc Garcia, who supervised the “Crash” sound editing sessions at Production Central, said Clemente is great to work with...

More at Production Central ABQ

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Sunday, November 16, 2008

Filmmaker Distribution and Serious Games in the Business Weekly.

Two additional articles about cool things going on in the New Mexico Business Weekly...
New site lets filmmakers distribute work
New Mexico Business Weekly - by Megan Kamerick

Distribution is the bugaboo of independent filmmakers, who are desperate to get their work out to audiences.

But two Albuquerque entrepreneurs say they have an idea that will change the whole equation and give filmmakers the power to build audiences for their work.

You could say it was a case of the aliens meeting the bellydancers. Anthony Dellaflora has been a filmmaker for years and is the co-founder of the Duke City Shootout, Albuquerque’s digital filmmaking festival. About a year and a half ago, he met Dan Latrimurti, who told him about his idea for doing streaming online video.

Latrimurti’s wife had been putting out instructional DVDs for bellydancing and he thought online distribution would be less time-intensive and more profitable. That’s when he found Maxcast, which allows users to create their own online broadcasts.

He approached Dellaflora about putting his film “High Strange New Mexico,” which explores the UFO subculture here, online as an experiment. They uploaded it with Maxcast and sent out some press releases. Two weeks later, UFO TV called Dellaflora with a distribution offer.

Dellaflora thought if this could happen for a documentary that was 10 years old, there was potential for other independent filmmakers with more current work.

So the two spent the next 18 months drilling down into the mechanics of Internet marketing and Web search optimization and came up with The Filmmakers Channel.

What it offers, they say, is a way for filmmakers, but also online instructors and even businesses, to create their own Internet broadcast channels and connect directly to audiences.

“We didn’t want to say ‘Stick your movie up online and it will make money,’” Dellaflora said. “You’ve got to know something about social networking like Facebook and MySpace as viral distribution.”

The Filmmakers Channel is a portal for all these films and other works, but it’s not the be-all, end-all of the idea, he added.

“The idea is to use our Filmmakers Channel as a base, but go out and start finding other niche audiences,” he said. “It’s a do-it-yourself thing for independent filmmakers.”...

Incubator finds fertile ground in national security technology

New Mexico Business Weekly - by Megan Kamerick

Glyn Anderson is an old hand at developing technology for military applications that can then be used in commercial animation work.

The company’s latest venture, however, started out with purely commercial intentions until Anderson met representatives from the National Security Technology Incubator, who suggested the new light he was creating could have national security uses.

NSTI launched this past March as part of the Arrowhead Center at New Mexico State University. It’s the state’s only small business incubator focused exclusively on technology applications for national security.

Chris Kientz, director of technology innovation at Arrowhead, said NSTI was created to boost technology transfer under the Department of Energy and other federal agencies...

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NM in the News: Easy Money, American Tragic, Donor Conspiracy, Filmmakers Channel,

Some mostly good news in today's Albuquerque Journal...

Ferrera To Get 'Tragic' in N.M.
by Dan Mayfield

America Ferrera, the star of the ABC sitcom "Ugly Betty," will be in New Mexico in February to produce and act in her next flick "American Tragic," Daily Variety reported this week.

It's a buddy road-trip picture, and Ferrera will play the wife of one of the buddies.

"American Tragic" will be made by Maya Entertainment, Variety said, which was founded by Moctesuma Esparza. Esparza filmed the awardwinning "The Milagro Beanfield War" in New Mexico in 1988.

'Easy Money' canned

The TV show "Easy Money," which has been filming in Albuquerque for several months and showing on Sunday nights on the CW, has been canceled, according to published reports.

The show stars Laurie Metcalf ("Roseanne") as the matriarch of a family that owns a short-term loan business in a Southwestern town called South Nile. Local actor Joe Peracchio had a major role in the series.

"Easy Money" production company Media Rights Capital produces all three prime time Sunday shows on the CW, including "Valentine," which was also canceled. Calls to the company went unreturned.

Local film picked up

Every year in New Mexico, dozens of local filmmakers pour their life savings into making a film, but rarely do they get picked up for distribution. Just 5 percent of feature-length films ever get a chance to be seen, either in theaters or on DVD.

"The Donor Conspiracy," by locals Gavin Gillette and Ryil Adamson is getting a shot. The pair sold their film through an agent to Vanguard International Cinema, and on Nov. 25 it will be available for rent or purchase worldwide.

This is big.

Though it's a straight-to-DVD title, that's more than most films ever see.

"The Donor Conspiracy" follows a pair of screwup medical students who are kicked out of school for pulling a prank you can't describe in a family newspaper. So, while whittling away the time playing video games, they stumble on an underground kidney pilfering operation in their apartment building.

"It started 10 years ago," Gillette said. "I was on a plane and I read about a guy who woke up in a tub of ice. How do you end up like that?"

Gillette read "How To Write a Screenplay," sat down and started writing.

"I always looked at films and said I could write something better than this crap," Gillette said.

He sent his script to agents, producers, anybody who might read it.

"Then, one drunken night, a friend said we can do this ourselves. I had no idea."

Gillette worked with a producer but that partnership bore no fruit, only a heavy toll on his bank account.

In 2006, Gillette was at the end of his rope. He sat down with Ann Lerner of the city's film office and told her about "The Donor Conspiracy." She knew one guy who could make it happen: Adamson.

"Ann calls me up and says, 'I've got this guy in my office and he wants to make a movie,' " Adamson said.

He had made just a couple of short films with the Duke City Shootout, but he was eager and would work cheap.

Both Adamson and Gillette had 9-5 jobs -- Adamson, who has a doctorate in special education, taught during the day and Gillette was a manager for a local homebuilder.

Things moved fast...

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