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

Reblog this post [with Zemanta]

No comments: