Tuesday, December 9, 2008

More NM Movie Industry News

One of the cooler, yet under-reported aspects of New Mexico's success with film and media is the the dimension it adds to people's thoughts of New Mexico, whether they're tourists, family members or potential clients (etc.). We live in a cooler place (to some) because there's a chance of seeing George Clooney or Christian Bale or Jennifer Lopez; we live and work in a place that must be cool and tech-savvy because companies like Sony Picture Imageworks have a presence here.

In today's NM Business Journal (online) there's another neat story about filmmaking's positive impact on New Mexico's Tourism industry:

Film tours next?
Film industry spawns more than movies made in NM
New Mexico Business Weekly - by Megan Kamerick NMBW Staff

When Marla Steinbrecker’s sister came to visit her in Albuquerque, she had one request.

“‘I want to see the building where Mary was kidnapped!’” Steinbrecker recalls her saying.

Mary was Mary Shannon, the character played by Mary McCormack in the show “In Plain Sight,” which is set in Albuquerque. Steinbrecker dutifully showed her sister the Atomic Cantina.

“‘This is so cool!’” Steinbrecker recalls her saying.

It’s just the kind of excitement tourism officials want to leverage from New Mexico’s booming film and TV industry, which has showcased many areas of the state.

Christian Bale and Peter Fonda led prisoner Russell Crow through the red sandstone rocks of Abiquiu in “3:10 to Yuma.” Josh Brolin dodged a psychopath with a bad hair cut around historic downtown Las Vegas in “No Country for Old Men.” John Travolta, Martin Lawrence, Tim Allen and William H. Macy hung out in Madrid with their motorcycles in “Wild Hogs.”

“There is no better advertisement for the state than watching the beautiful scenery of New Mexico,” said Jennifer Hoffman, deputy secretary for the state Department of Tourism.

Hoffman joined the department earlier this year and is working on bringing tourism and film closer together. The department is currently conducting surveys at the state’s visitor centers to gauge people’s knowledge of New Mexico based on the movies they have seen.

Eventual plans would include kiosks in all the visitor centers, with streaming video from movies shot in New Mexico and an accompanying film map to help tourists find landmarks featured in films. Ideally, this will correspond with road signs marking certain sites, Hoffman said.

The State Film Office has a map it updates every few months that lists sites where films have been shot, but Hoffman envisions something that is more tourist-friendly.

Tourism is already a major force in the state as the largest private sector employer, with more than 80,000 employees. The film industry has risen quickly as a sector here, with direct spending of $751.7 million over the past six years. Some 115 films and television shows have been shot here since 2003...
More at Film tours next?

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