Sunday, December 28, 2008

Las Cruces Update

The Las Cruces Sun's annual Year in Review provides a rundown on several of the activities that are building awareness of the Las Cruces' area's filmmaking capabilities:
Hollywood on the Rio Grande

Las Cruces continued to build its reputation as Hollywood on the Rio Grande with big budget potential blockbusters, indie and student films in production here.

"The Burning Plain" wrapped local shoots early in 2008 in Las Cruces. The film, which stars Charlize Theron, Kim Basinger and Jennifer Lawrence, has already garnered awards and nominations. Lawrence won Italy's Marcello Mastroianni Award and Guillermo Arriaga, the film's director and screenwriter, has been nominated for The Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion) Award, the highest prize given to a film at the Biennale Venice Film Festival. A U.S. release date has not yet been announced.

White Sands National Monument and southern New Mexico were again principal locations for "Transformers." The sequel, "Revenge of the Fallen," is slated to hit theaters next summer.

Comedic superstar Jack Black and Michael Cera finished shoots in White Sands for "Year One," a buddy quest comedy set in Biblical times. A John Makovich movie, "Afterwards" did some location shoots in southern New Mexico and a London production company filmed the David Parker Ray documentary in Truth or Consequences, scene of Ray's crimes and a reality TV show, "Man vs. Cartoon," filmed at the Very Large Array, about 50 miles from Socorro.

Several indie films were made in southern New Mexico, too. Creative Media Institute's first feature-length film, "Becoming Eduardo," filmed in Hillsboro and Truth or Consequences, is based on "Alternative Ed," a book by former OƱate High School teacher LouAnne Johnson, whose bestseller, "My Posse Don't Do Homework," became the basis for the 1995 blockbuster film "Dangerous Minds," starring Michelle Pfeiffer. The cast includes students from Alma d'arte, Las Cruces' charter high school for the arts and its executive artistic producer, Irene Oliver-Lewis. Johnson worked with indie filmmaker and CMI professor Rod McCall on the film.

"AH-HOS-TEEND (Retired)," a spiritual quest movie by writers-directors Chris Kientz and Shonie De La Rosa, was filmed on locations in Las Cruces and southern New Mexico. Writer Mackenzie Ridgeway and producer and director Jaron Whitfill chose locations in Las Cruces, southern New Mexico and Albuquerque for their thriller, "They Can't Be Stopped." Shawn Darling's "Grave Mistake" had a private premiere here and was picked up for national distribution by Maxim Media International and Brain Damage Films. Darling has several other projects the works, including "Red Sands," a monster movie set in a a survivalist camp for troubled kids, and a fantasy film in pre-production.

Writer and director Constance Haspopoulos worked on "A Road To Paris," produced by CMI for a short film production class of Tony Award-winning playwright and Academy Award-nominated screenwriter Mark Medoff.

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More at Year in Review

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