Thursday, December 10, 2009

NM in the News

I like it when New Mexico receives attention for the good things it does -- so 2009 is closing out nicely.

The other day, there were a slew of reports on the unveiling of Virgin Galactic's Space Ship Two -- expected to launch out of New Mexico's Spaceport America in 2011 (

And now the LA Times features the development of Santa Fe Studios as a sign that New Mexico is continuing to grow as a production hub (

With another successful Santa Fe Film Festival and great reviews for NM resident Tom Ford's "A Simple Man" we're being seen as a place that's increasing production capacity, advancing technology and a source of great creative work.

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

CMI Takes Two Awards from the Santa Fe Film Fest

From NMSU's The Roundup:

CMI Takes Two Awards from the Santa Fe Film Fest

This past weekend, staff and students of New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute had a moment in the spotlight when they earned two awards at the Santa Fe Film Festival for their film, Becoming Eduardo.

The movie, which is about a young Latino who is torn between a life of intellect and danger, was written, directed and co-produced by CMI instructor Rod McCall. Becoming Eduardo is based on the novella, Alternative Ed by Louanne Johnson.

McCall was at the ceremony Saturday to accept the Milagro Award 2009 and the Tamalewood Award for Best Latin Film. “The experience was terrific for me and the school,” said McCall, who was surprised at the success of the film.

Eight CMI students worked as production assistants in the movie and earned course credit for their contributions. Mostly filmed in Hillsboro, N.M. and partially filmed in Truth or Consequences, N.M., Becoming Eduardo underwent post-production over the course of nine months and was filmed in the summer of 2008. One of the biggest challenges faced during the making of the film was the amount of time given.

“We only had two weeks to film the movie in terms of budget and time,” said McCall.
More at:

Saturday, November 28, 2009

Santa Fe Studios Update

Today's Santa Fe New Mexican looks at the new Santa Fe Studios and its potential impact on the New Mexico...
Santa Fe Studios betting big on new complex
Julie Ann Grimm | The New Mexican
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2009

The producers of the nuclear holocaust film Terminator Salvation, released earlier this year, originally planned to crash a helicopter into a lake in Budapest. But they decided instead to take advantage of New Mexico's film incentives program and make the science-fiction movie right here in the state, much of it at the 28-acre, two-year-old campus of Albuquerque Studios.

A shallow tank on a few acres of flat desert outside the facility became the crash site, monster machines soared over the Rio Grande Gorge, and John Connor (Christian Bale), a future Resistance soldier, rode a motorcycle across the vast mesa west of the Duke City.

Tax rebates, interest-free loans and free use of some state property are luring filmmakers to New Mexico, creating jobs and new sources of revenue. The fourth feature film in the Terminator series was the biggest picture shot in the state last year and one of 44 major TV and film productions made in New Mexico since January 2008.

Albuquerque Studios also are home to the Emmy Award-winning television series Breaking Bad, now in its third season.

But six of its top-of-the-line sound stages built in 2007 and two smaller studios added later are not all fully booked, according to chief operating officer Nick Smerigan. And now he might be getting some competition from a new film studio complex that is expected to break ground this winter on county-owned land off N.M. 14 south of Santa Fe.

That raises the question about whether there is enough demand for another major studio facility in New Mexico...
More at: Santa Fe Studios betting big on new complex
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can DIY Supplant the First Person Shooter?

Good article in Friday's NY Times Magazine section -- and it features Las Cruces area game developer Jason Rohrer.

Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?
Published: November 13, 2009

The face of the enemy flashed across a 20-foot screen. “That’s right,” Jason Rohrer announced. “It’s Roger Ebert.” There were a few boos, as several hundred people stirred in their seats. The film critic’s cherubic face stared at the audience. “Ebert said video games can’t be art,” Rohrer said. “He issued all of us a direct challenge. And we need to find an answer.”

Rohrer was addressing the Game Developers Conference, one of his industry’s premier trade events. Each spring, the conference convenes in San Francisco, and among the tens of thousands of people who attend is a burgeoning fringe of independent designers like Rohrer who hope to radically transform their medium. “A realization is dawning that games can be much more than what they are now,” Rohrer told me later. “They even have the potential to be meaningful in deep, fundamental ways.”

These game designers, a self-described indie scene, form a tightly knit group with a
do-it-yourself culture and a rebellious spirit — something like a ’zine movement
for video games. New and cheap technologies have enabled the movement’s rise.
New tools for production and distribution — through smartphones, over the Web
and via downloadable services on PlayStation, Wii and Xbox consoles — now make
it possible for individuals to conceive, develop and publish their own games.

Rohrer himself is a kind of Thoreauvian game designer, a 31-year-old
back-to-the-land programmer-philosopher who lives in Las Cruces, N.M., where he
codes his eccentrically engrossing games, which can feel like digitally mediated
poetic moods, on an ancient computer and makes them available free online. “Now
anyone can do it,” he says, “which is not how the mainstream video-game industry
works.” ...

The rest of the article is well worth reading... check it out at: Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sony Picture Imageworks Update

Nice update on the local Sony Pictures Imageworks group from Dan Mayfield of the Albuquerque Journal:

Making Magic in Town
by Dan Mayfield
Sunday, 1 November
In the summer of 2007, Sony Pictures Imageworks broke ground for a new building at Mesa Del Sol.

It was a big deal. We were promised a new, fancy, state of-the art building with 250 computer animators turning out hit after hit right next door to Albuquerque Studios.

Then the economy tanked. A new building wasn't in the cards after all. But there was one nice building available Downtown, recently empty, and cheap. The digital clocks still say US West, and there are still Qwest signs at 400 Tijeras SW, but everything else is all Imageworks.

Jim Berney, visual effects supervisor and general manager, is proud of the facility, as about 50 employees have been quietly working, making some of the biggest films of the past year.

From "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," which is in theaters now, to the coming "2012" disaster film and next spring's Tim Burton remake of "Alice in Wonderland," they've been busy. Berney has to talk to Burton often to ensure that what the crew here makes is what he wants.

"All of us are digging it," Berney said...
More at Making Magic in Town.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Film and Digital Media in Santa Fe Trend

Many of you have seen this already, but there are two great piece to see in the Fall/Winter issue of (Santa Fe) Trend Magazine.

The "FILM NOW" article from Hugh Elliott is a good recap of New Mexico's film history, recent activity, how we're faring against our competitors and some thoughts on the future.

The issue also highlights Corrales-based Ideum in their Business Profiles Section. Ideum's new 100" Multitouch table... is really awesome. Check out their blog for more information including details on their new GestureWorks framework for creating complex multitouch applications.

Plus... Trend's a pretty cool magazine.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NM makes Variety's Top 5 Filmmaking Places

New Mexico continues to perform near the top of North American locations for filmmaking, recognized as #3 by Variety's recent poll of industry pros. Here's the article:

Pros pick best places for filmmaking
Industry insiders choose world's greatest locations

recently conducted an online poll among several hundred location managers, unit production managers, cinematographers, directors and assistant directors asking them to rate their favorite locations according to visual appeal, incentives, film-office support, production resources, and ability to substitute for another location.

The top five North American locations and the top five international locations, ranked here by overall excellence, are regions or cities that scored high on most or all of the criteria. Following these top 10 locations is a list of places cited by the polled pros for excelling in specific categories.


#1 California

Los Angeles and environs, San Diego, San Francisco and spots throughout the state

While California reels from the double whammy of a lousy economy and continued runaway production, it's easy to forget just how much the state has to offer. It still has the deepest talent pool -- both in front of and behind the camera -- and the largest and most technologically advanced production infrastructure and equipment in the world.

Plus, the state offers varied outdoor locations, including snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, rolling vineyards and misty forests -- not to mention the hilly streets of San Francisco and palm-fringed urban landscape of L.A. The state's coast has hosted such films as "Sideways" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 3," its arid stretches have doubled for Iraq and Afghanistan, and at the center of the action is Hollywood, the longtime center of the global entertainment industry, with its backlots and studios.

Now, for the first time, California has taken steps to stem runaway production. The state enacted a 20%-25% tax credit -- in a bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made his name in Hollywood -- that went into effect July 1.

#2 New York

Manhattan, the rest of New York City plus upstate locations

Filmmakers have flocked to the Big Apple since the early days of cinema, drawn by its restless energy, its world-famous skyscrapers and backdrops that range from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the gritty back alleys of Hell's Kitchen. There's no more authentic place to capture a New York street scene, as Oliver Stone is currently doing in "Wall Street 2," or to create a mythical New York, as Woody Allen has done.

The city boasts an abundance of skilled crews and major studios like Silvercup, Kaufman-Astoria and Steiner -- plus the facilities of the TV networks headquartered there.

Outside the city, filmmakers have long explored locations ranging from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Catskills and other picturesque regions. Helping the state attract productions: a 30%-35% refundable state tax credit on qualified expenses.

#3 New Mexico

Albuquerque, other cities and remote areas

Known for scenery that ranges from white desert sands to forested mountains, New Mexico also offers a 25% tax rebate on all production costs and local labor payments. This aggressive incentive has spurred a heavy production slate, promoting growth in studio and stage space. This year alone has seen 15 major feature film productions as well as various TV series. The newest facility is the giant Albuquerque Studios complex, joining Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Studios. But while Albuquerque remains the center of gravity, production is also moving to remoter areas like Deming ("Indiana Jones 4"), Clovis ("Believe in Me") and Las Cruces ("Transformers"). The state claims the largest crew base outside the coasts -- more than 3,000. A new studio complex is being built in Santa Fe.

More at the article here: Pros pick best places for filmmaking

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Governor Bill Richardson Congratulates “New Visions” Winner on Taking Top Honors at International Film Festival

For Immediate Release Contact: Alarie Ray-Garcia
October 21, 2009 (505) 476-2248
Governor Bill Richardson Congratulates “New Visions” Winner on Taking Top Honors at International Film Festival
SANTA FE-Governor Bill Richardson today congratulated “New Visions/New Mexico winner Ilana Lapid for winning best short film for “Red Mesa” during the13th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. Lapid wrote and directed the film, which beat out hundreds of other entries for top honors. The prestigious event is an Oscar qualifying film festival, which means that “Red Mesa” can now be submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration of Oscar contention.
Lapid was one of the first recipients of the state’s New Visions/New Mexico Contract Awards, receiving $15,000.00 toward the making of “Red Mesa.” She co-produced the film with local New Mexicans Jake Pokluda and John Ward, worked with local first Assistant Director, Dennis Crow, and many other New Mexico film crew on this project through the Film Technician Training Program at New Mexico State University Dona Ana Community College and with the support of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 480.
“Ilana Lapid has made the State of New Mexico proud with her win at this prestigious international film festival,” said Governor Richardson. “I created the New Visions program to support the overwhelming talent and creativity of our homegrown filmmakers and I am proud that this effort is helping our filmmakers realize their deserved international acclaim.”
In exchange for their contract awards, recipients of the New Visions/New Mexico Contract Awards must provide a service to the state’s film efforts, such as training other New Mexico filmmakers who are new to the industry, workshops and seminars and conducting outreach to high school students interested in pursuing film/media careers. The Film Technician Training Program is now offered at five community colleges around the state including: Dona Ana Community College, Santa Fe Community College, CNM in Albuquerque, Northern New Mexico College at El Rito, and Eastern New Mexico University at Roswell. More information on these programs are available on the New Mexico Film Office website, under “Workforce Advancement.”
Set against the backdrop of the US/Mexico border, “Red Mesa” is the coming of age story of Lynn, 17, caught in between her love for her grandfather and her forbidden romance with a Mexican laborer from a neighboring ranch. Lynn’s deception of both men leads to a terrible accident when the three of them are thrown together under a situation of great stress. Coming face to face with the painful realities of the border, Lynn realizes that meaningful relationships can only be based on honesty and the courage to stand up for what you believe.
The film is dedicated to the late Michael Laurence, who was in charge of the NMSU Film Technician’s Training Program at that time and was a strong supporter of Ilana and this project.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More success for NM New Visions Winners: Red Mesa

The NM New Visions Contract Award program really seems to be hitting its stride with more and more funded projects winning awards -- and highlighting filmmaking here in New Mexico. The latest is Ilana Lapid with her film, "Red Mesa".

From Ilana:
"I shot "Red Mesa," my USC thesis film, on a cattle ranch in southern NM (near Las Cruces) under the mentorship of Mark Medoff, in collaboration with CMI, with the generous support of Eric Witt, Lisa Strout and the NM Film Office, FTTP and Jon Hendry. As well as with tremendous help from Mike Laurance - who passed away several months after production, and to whom the film is dedicated. We premiered at the NY Latino International Film Festival, and will be playing next at Santa Fe Film Festival..."
She's currently in New Haven, CT where she's currently Artist in Residence at Slifka Center at Yale. She hopes to return to NM to shoot her first feature film after her residency is completed.


Ilana Lapid’s Red Mesa, a fictional drama set on the U.S.–Mexico border, was awarded Best Short Film during the closing night gala for the 2009 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF). The awards ceremony took place at the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood on October 16.

Red Mesa tells the story of Lynn, who is unable to share her beloved grandfather’s dreams for her future and charts her own path by seeking love beyond familiar borders. Caught in the crossfire of her affection for her grandfather and her secret love with an undocumented worker, Lynn must decide which borders she is willing to cross. Set on a cattle ranch on the U.S.– Mexico Border, Red Mesa is a powerful cinematic exploration of love, loyalty and coming of age through a young woman’s struggle with difficult choices. The film stars veteran actor Tom Bower along with newcomers Jessica Spotts and Gabriel Rivera.

350 short films were submitted to LALIFF this year, of which 37 were selected to screen in the festival. Red Mesa was chosen to receive the Best Short Film award by a jury panel including director Patricia Riggen, visual effect artist Charlie Iturriaga, and actors William Marquez and Jeremy Ray Valdez.

LALIFF is an Oscar® qualifying festival, which means that Red Mesa may now be considered for a Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award.

Ilana Lapid is a 2008 graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. Red Mesa was her USC MFA thesis film, shot on 35mm in southern New Mexico with support from an inaugural New Visions/New Mexico Contract Award given by the New Mexico Film Office. To date, Lapid has produced three award-winning USC films and directed 11 short films, for which she was awarded both the Jack Nicholson and the John Huston Directing Awards from USC.

Red Mesa will next screen at the 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival, taking place December 2–6 in New Mexico. The film made its world premiere at the 2009 New York Latino International Film Festival in July. More details on the film can be found at


For more information about Red Mesa or to inquire about
interviews, please contact Lisa Y. Garibay at or 213-840-3517.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Las Cruces Town Hall for Film & Digital Media

There's a lot of great film and media work going on in the Las Cruces area -- but we don't always see much coverage of that in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe media markets. Raising their profile and building connections between all of New Mexico's communities was part of the reason for the Governor's Council on Film and Media Industries Town Hall in Las Cruces on October 8th.

From the Las Cruces Sun-News:
Southern New Mexico ready for a bigger slice of movie-making pie
By S. Derrickson Moore Sun-News reporter
Posted: 10/09/2009 12:00:00 AM MDT

LAS CRUCES - Southern New Mexico is ready for a bigger piece of the state's movie pie, locals and film professionals from throughout the state agreed at a town hall meeting Thursday hosted by the Governor's Council on Film and Media Industries (GCFMI) at Alma d'arte Charter High School.

Build infrastructure such as a Western set, continue to train media-savvy students, collaborate creatively with northern New Mexico and Borderland colleagues and take advantage of our great year-around filming locations, professionals advised, and Las Cruces should be poised for success.

It could have been a tense week to muster support for movie-making in our region, after the closure of Highway 70 to film "Due Date" resulted in traffic jams that irked thousands of area commuters. But locals still bulllish on plans to make Las Cruces into Hollywood on the Rio Grande flocked to the meeting and networking and strategy sessions.

The goal of the gathering, held in association with the High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico, was "to gather input on the future of the state's burgeoning film and media industries" with an agenda that included a town hall-style "listening session," and break-out strategy sessions focussing on making connections to link and benefit both northern and southern New Mexico, and to foster film and digital media opportunities and educational strategies...
More at: Southern New Mexico ready for a bigger slice of movie-making pie

Saturday, September 19, 2009

NM in the News

This fall, people around the US are seeing New Mexico -- and movies made or partially made here -- on screens big and small. Season 2 of Crash is now up on Starz, "Burning Plain" and "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs" premiered Friday, "Georgia O'Keeffe" plays on Lifetime tonight -- "Gamer" and "My One and Only" premiered earlier this month. Others like "The Men Who Stare at Goats" and "The Book of Eli" will be coming out shortly.

From the Las Cruces Sun-News / California Chronicle:

By S. Derrickson Moore, Las Cruces Sun-News, N.M.

Sep. 18--MESILLA -- Internationally-renowned writer and director Guillermo Arriaga said he plans to make more movies in Las Cruces and hopes to someday buy a home here.

"To be making a film here is to be blessed. I love it here. I love border towns," said Arriaga, in Mesilla for a Sept. 11 screening of "The Burning Plain," which goes into limited national release in the United States today. It was filmed principally in Las Cruces and Oregon in late 2007 and early 2008. The film, which stars two Academy award winners, Charlize Theron and Kim Basinger, has garnered several positive reviews.

Novelist and screenwriter Arriaga, who was nominated for an Academy Award and a Golden Globe for "Babel," makes his directorial debut with "The Burning Plain," which he also wrote. He was nominated for The Leone d'Oro (Golden Lion) Award, the highest prize given to a film at the Biennale Venice Film Festival, where actress Jennifer Lawrence won an award for her portrayal of a tormented teen in a border town (Las Cruces).

During a Sept. 10 interview in Mesilla, Arriaga put down his cell phone and reported that his family, including his teenage son and daughter, "are really excited to hear I'm here. We had a great time here. I love this place. I love the people and I hope they're happy with us. I think Las Cruces looks beautiful in the movie."

A friendship with Gov. Bill Richardson and an extensive tour of the state was not enough to entice him to shoot the film in northern New Mexico, he said.

"I suppose the right thing to do was to shoot in Albuquerque. But it was not the kind of landscapes I thought would work for the movie. I was mesmerized by your place -- the Organ Mountains, the flavor, the light, the neighborhoods." ...

More at: 'Burning Plain' Arrives Amid Passionate Reviews

Meanwhile, the Valencia County News-Bulletin has news about New Mexico's latest animation program:
UNM-Valencia strikes a pose for animation degrees
Written by Shirl Sazynski/News-Bulletin
Wednesday, 02 September 2009 07:51

"Tango tango!" the room chants.

"Do the Macarena!" someone else yells.

Red lights flood the stage and a scintillating, futuristic backdrop sets off her every move, but Nadja Burns of Houston isn't in a club.

She swings her arms and trailing flames appear on the maquette projected on a pull-down screen at the far side of the room. It's 9 a.m. in the simulation lab at the Digital Media Arts building on the University of New Mexico-Valencia Campus.
College administration and staff cluster inside a room that looks like some magician's trick -- the unassuming door tucked into a corner of a wall gives no indication of the lab's cavernous size. Freshly minted monitors line rows of desks, so new they're still loosely wrapped in the lightweight, protective dust covers from shipping; shallow white cardboard boxes conceal keyboards that haven't been hooked up yet.

Thanks to a $2.5 million Federal Title-V STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) grant covering a comprehensive technology and science makeover throughout campus, the campus just received a revolutionary motion-capture animation suite, the Open Stage Markerless Capture System. Dominick Murphy of Organic Motion, Inc was there to demonstrate it.

The next volunteer, Chad Perry, senior public affairs representative for UNM-VC, walks into the aluminum frame and white cloth cube, left open on one side. He's wearing a blue Hawaiian shirt, khakis...and socks, so as not to damage the special reflective-fabric floor. Perry jumps around playfully and nothing happens for a minute.
"Strike the pose," Murphy offers.

Once Perry holds his arms out in a rigid cross shape, the video stream begins. On cue, a spiky, blue-haired woman in a sci-fi bikini-covered body suit jumps around and shoot fireballs.

Earlier motion-capture technologies (used to animate characters such as Gollum in the "Lord of the Rings" movies) relied on painstaking measurements of tracking markers dotting an actor's spandex suit, meticulously calibrated to a computer system.
The setup process for each actor took several hours before shooting could begin. Whenever a hand or limb overlapped another part of an actor's body in a pose, the rendering system became confused as to which body part went where.

Now, programming innovations and a higher hardware processing speed allow actors to enter the motion-capture studio without a constricting suit. A battery of 14 cameras shooting red beams tracks basic motions in real-time, creating a 3-D mesh skeleton linked to the movement of 21 bones -- even following foreshortened poses, such as an actor holding his or her arms crossed at the chest...

Saturday, September 12, 2009

County Backs Loan for Santa Fe Studios

From the Santa Fe New Mexican:

Development of complex off N.M. 14 could begin within weeks

Phaedra Haywood | The New Mexican
9/11/2009 - 9/12/09
Santa Fe County will lend $6 million to a production company to build a film studio complex on N.M. 14 near the Penitentiary of New Mexico.

County Commissioners approved the loan unanimously Friday morning in a special meeting held in a chamber packed with local film union members.

The county will generate the $6 million for the loan through the sale of bonds backed by gross-receipts tax revenues.

Executives of Santa Fe Studios — the entity that will use the money to build the studio — will provide a $2 million letter of credit or escrow payment to secure the loan.

If Santa Fe Studios defaults on the loan, the International Alliance of Theatrical Stage Employees Local 480 would take over operating the studios on behalf of the county.

Though the general terms were agreed to in Friday's meeting, several specifics of the deal have yet to be finalized...

Friday, September 11, 2009

El Salon Mexico Premieres tonight!

Perhaps one of the more highly anticipated movies to come out of the NM Filmmakers "New Visions | New Mexico" contract award program, El Salon Mexico premieres later today at the NM Film Museum (Jean Cocteau Theatre under the NM Film Office).

Here's the info from the Weekly Alibi's Reel World column from Devin O'Leary:
On Friday, Sept. 11, the New Mexico Film Museum at Jean Cocteau Theatre in Santa Fe will host the premiere of Tamarind King and Paul Glickman’s just-completed New Visions 2007 Contract Award winning short “El Salon Mexico.” Inspired by the exuberant composition by Aaron Copeland, the animated film was made using Photoshop and Illustrator and consists of more than 22,500 individual frames. Previous animated films by King and Glickman will also be screened. There will be two free showings at 6 and 8 p.m. Seating is limited, so be sure to RSVP to using “ESM Screening” in the subject line. The Jean Cocteau Theatre is located at 418 Montezuma in Santa Fe
Which seems like a good reason to remind everyone that the deadline for the latest New Visions | New Mexico Contract Award Program is coming up on October 16th. Visit the NM Film Office site for details.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Cinnafilm & Arri @ IBC

CINNAFILM and ARRI Partner to Showcase Latest Innovations in Film and Video Post Production Technology at IBC 2009

Highlights Will Include A Look At Cinnafilm’s Pixel Strings GPU-Based Parallel Processing Software Engine – Featured in the ARRI Relativity Software Solution – and New ‘Clean Module’

Albuquerque, September 8, 2009 – Cinnafilm, Inc., the software engineering developer of advanced GPU-based film and video post production tools, announced the details of its IBC 2009 presence – the leading international forum for the electronic media industry (September 11 – 15, at RAI Amsterdam). Cinnafilm CEO Lance Maurer will be at the convention with partner ARRI, the professional motion equipment world leader, showcasing at its booth the latest versions of Cinnafilm’s high-performance image processing technology tools found in ARRI Relativity™ (Relativity™).

Relativity, the groundbreaking modular suite of software tools developed by Cinnafilm, leverages its Pixel Strings™ technology, the first software engine to harness the potential of GPU-based parallel processing for motion estimation and spatial-temporal image filtering. The software provides unprecedented levels of power and performance for professional-grade format conversion, retiming, film simulation, degraining and texture control. With Relativity users can instantly visualize, lengthen or shorten a clip, change its delivery standard, change the frame rate, add believable film simulation effects — all without rendering. [Editors’ Note: In May, Cinnafilm signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar global reseller agreement with ARRI, giving the company worldwide rights to market and resell ARRI Relativity™, formerly known as Cinnafilm Dark Energy™. Press release details on the agreement are available at:]

Maurer will also help introduce its new Relativity Clean module, originally shown at NAB and developed in association with Digital Film Central Inc., a recognized leader in image optimization. The Clean module is a “first-pass” treatment for the removal of fine dust, fibers and scratches from scanned film images. It harnesses the blazing speed of the Pixel Strings™ technology to efficiently restore images by addressing particles and artifacts that typically make up 90% of image defects. A typical 20-minute reel of 2K footage can be processed in less than 40 minutes.

According to Maurer, in addition to the new Clean Module, ARRI Relativity now features additional refinements for improved productivity and performance. “ARRI Relativity is a ‘Swiss army knife’ for format conversions and restoration and the first marketable software suite to build on our Pixel Strings, GPU-based motion estimation engine technology,” said Maurer. “Relativity provides real-world solutions for both Digital Intermediate and broadcast file-based work flow, and is already in use at prominent facilities in Los Angeles, New York, Vancouver and Germany. At IBC, I’m looking forward to showing European creative professionals the latest enhancements we’ve developed for Relativity and future Cinnafilm technology developments.”

More details at the Digital Content Producer blog.

Saturday, August 29, 2009

New Mexico -- on screens everywhere!

Looks like we have a few more NM-shot movies that'll be hitting the screens... well every month or so for the foreseeable future. Big Stars, Big Movies... New Mexico rocks.

Gamer (4 September 2009):

Georgia O'Keeffe (19 September 2009):

Men Who Stare at Goats (6 November 2009):

Brothers (4 December 2009):

Did You Hear About the Morgans? (11 December 2009):

Book of Eli (January 2010):

Legion (January 2010):

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Local iPhone Developers in the News

Nice story this past Thursday night on KOB-TV focusing on a local group of developers working on iPhone and other mobile apps. Andrew Stone in particular has been getting more and more notice as his "Twittelator Pro" -- a twitter app for iPhone -- has been featured in Apple's own ads (it's even noted in Apple's response to the FCC about how new apps go through the App store's approval process).

Some of you may have seen Andrew speak at our Media Industries conference or the recent Ignite NM event -- but it's great to see him and other local developers being recognized outside our neighborhood as well.

From Jeremy Jojola at KOB-TV:
iPhone a gold mine for Albuquerque developers
The iPhone, along with other smart phones, are changing the way a lot of people do things.

For some Albuquerque software developers, the iPhone has become a digital gold mine.

At an Albuquerque coffee shop, you can find a group of self-proclaimed geeks -- they love the term.

Developer Andrew Stone said, "I'm a geek and I'm very proud of it."

More info and video at:


Friday, August 14, 2009

6 Rio Grande High Students go to Telluride Film Fest w/ City Lights!


Albuquerque, NM - Six students and two teachers at Rio Grande High
School have been selected to attend the 2009 Telluride Film Festival as
guests of the City Lights Project. Only one other school in the country
was selected to send students to attend the Festival from September 3 to
7, 2009.

This stellar field trip is designed to provide underserved high school
juniors and seniors and their teachers a unique opportunity to immerse
themselves in a whirlwind experience of the world renowned Telluride
Film Festival. The students will be busy from early morning to late each
night, viewing 10-12 films over five days and interacting with
filmmakers, actors, screenwriters, musicians and producers.

"This opportunity fits perfectly with Rio Grande's new commitment to
hands-on, career/ community/reality-based education," said David
Bleicher, the English and film teacher who applied for the City Lights
Project back in the spring.

"We're excited to offer Rio Grande students this opportunity to expand
their worldview, enhance their ability to become more thoughtful social
participants, and equip them with new tools to become leaders for the
future," said Erika Gordon, City Lights Coordinator. "It also provides a
singular opportunity to become lifelong friends with other students from
widely divergent lifestyles and backgrounds."

The participating Rio Grande students are Adrian Angulo, Hope Armijo,
Oscar Adrian Mendez Cera, Sterling Courville, Sarah Lynn Chavez, and
David Lucero. The City Lights Project selected them based on essays that
they wrote and references from their teachers.

The students will be ambassadors for not just Albuquerque, but for all
New Mexico. They will interact with students from Telluride High School
and Whiting High School from Laramie, Wyoming. The students will stay in
condos, dorm-style, with teachers as chaperons. Mr. Bleicher and drama
teacher Keith Andersen will attend with the students.

Prior to going to the festival, the students will participate in over 15
hours of preparation work. They will view, discuss and journal about
Charlie Chaplin's City Lights (1931), independent film El Norte (1983),
Michael Moore's documentary Bowling for Columbine (2002), foreign film
Turtles Can Fly (2004), and short film, Peter Sellars: A Portrait, about
an influential artist and longtime Telluride Film Festival collaborator
who will meet the students.

The Project is providing lodging, meals and Festival passes, and all the
goodies that go with those passes. The only expected expenses are
transportation to and from the Festival.

Because of budget cuts, the school is not able to provide funding for
the trip, so organizers are looking for donations to pay for
transportation. A pottery sale held by ceramics students at Rio raised
$86, but approximately $600 is needed to rent a van for the group. Those
wishing to make donations should contact David Bleicher at 505-615-9949
(cell) or

Contact For More Information:
David Bleicher, (cell) 505-615-9949 or (home) 505-265-7215

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Filmmakers Use Social Media to Promote; Distribute

The use of social media and techniques like Alternate Reality Games (ARGs) to promote and support the release of film continues to gain attention -- and may be becoming the norm.

New Mexico Women in Film will look at this during their next event, "Storytelling on the Web: Harnessing a World of Opportunities" on August 25th from 7-8:30 (networking from 6-7) at Albuquerque Academy's Simms Fine Arts Center. More info at:

The folks on What is Paul seem to be having a good time out near Las Vegas, NM judging by their Viral site. From Cinema Blend:

What is Paul? Viral Site Gets A Revamp
Wish you were on the set out in New Mexico, working with Simon Pegg, Nick Frost, Kristen Wiig, Bill Hader and more on Greg Mottola's Paul? Yeah, don't we all. Luckily this is one of those Hollywood sets where, like Edgar Wright did on the Scott Pilgrim shoot, video blogs are abundant to keep you in the loop.

The production site What Is Paul? recently got revamped, and is stuffed with videos from behind the scenes, from "facial toning sessions" to a Q&A with Pegg, Frost, Hader and more. There's a lot of videos to click through; check out one of them below, in which Pegg, Frost and Wiig seem a little punchy after a long night on the set in Las Vegas, New Mexico.

Meanwhile, the folks from Lonely Island who are in town prepping "MacGruber!" show their stuff on their MySpace blog and YouTube:

Finally, today's New York Times discusses the different approaches other filmmakers are using to actually release and distribute their content:
As Studios Cut Budgets, Indie Filmmakers Go Do-It-Yourself
Published: August 12, 2009

LOS ANGELES — Quentin Tarantino never had to go through this.
When “The Age of Stupid,” a climate change movie, “opens” across the United States in September, it will play on some 400 screens in a one-night event, with a video performance by Thom Yorke of Radiohead, all paid for by the filmmakers themselves and their backers. In Britain, meanwhile, the film has been showing via an Internet service that lets anyone pay to license a copy, set up a screening and keep the profit.

The glory days of independent film, when hot young directors like Steven Soderbergh and Mr. Tarantino had studio executives tangled in fierce bidding wars at Sundance and other celebrity-studded festivals, are now barely a speck in the rearview mirror. And something new, something much odder, has taken their place.

Here is how it used to work: aspiring filmmakers playing the cool auteur in hopes of attracting the eye of a Hollywood power broker.

Here is the new way: filmmakers doing it themselves — paying for their own distribution, marketing films through social networking sites and Twitter blasts, putting their work up free on the Web to build a reputation, cozying up to concierges at luxury hotels in film festival cities to get them to whisper into the right ears...

More at: As Studios Cut Budgets, Indie Filmmakers Go Do-It-Yourself

Saturday, August 1, 2009

NM Media Roundup

From KRQE: Kids Star in Studio Adoption Videos
Reporter: Kaitlin McCarthy
Web Producer: Bill Diven
ALBUQUERQUE (KRQE) - New Mexico kids and teens looking for a good home and a family to love them had the chance to share their stories on camera Friday while getting star treatment at Albuquerque Studios.

The Adoption Exchange , a nonprofit agency, taped video profiles of 15 children and teens so prospective parents can see their faces, hear their voices and get to know them better.

The adoptable young people sat in director’s chairs under bright studio lights to share their personal stories.

“These children very seldom get star treatment, and they deserve star treatment," Bill Williams of The Adoption Exchange said. "All of them have suffered some type of abuse and neglect, and it's time that they get a special treat every once in a while."

The kids brought a different type of celebrity feeling to the studio, Nick Smerigan, Albuquerque Studios chief operating officer, said.

“The movies and the television shows we do here are very exciting, and we love having them here," Smerigan said. "It's a great experience for everybody, but this is really, really fulfilling for us." ...
For the full story and video visit: Kids star in studio adoption videos

School of Dreams Academy Opens

From the Valencia County News-Bulletin: School of Dreams Academy to open with 125 students on Tuesday
Friday, 31 July 2009 17:14

There's truth to the name.

The time has finally come for Valencia County's first and only charter school "the School of Dreams Academy" has made 125 dreams come true as newly enrolled students anxiously await their first day of school this Tuesday.

"The biggest excitement will be to work with kids and put a human element to the dream," School of Dreams Academy Principal David Yates said.

"This is something new and something we believe in that will have a positive impact to not just the school but we see ourselves as pioneers and making a different model of education...opening up new opportunities for people."

With a capped enrollment of 125 students, six teachers, one full-time security guard, a part-time nurse and full-time administrative assistant, the school year is fully staffed and ready to go.

Yates said two of his teaching staff of six worked with him when he was principal of Manzano Vista Middle School last year.

Each teacher, Yates said, is a specialist in a particular focus-area of SODA and is highly qualified in the subjects they will be teaching.

"I feel very positive about them," he said. "The way (the staff) fit together was critical but these people – they collaborated and stood out way, way above the rest."

Because SODA is a fine arts academy, special emphasis will be placed on digital media and visual arts and the school's permanent home will have all the equipment necessary to allow students to incorporate the digital arts in their everyday learning experiences, even with subjects, Yates said, that are not typically seen as "artsy," like science and history.

Students may be required to create science projects or history presentations using digital and visual arts equipment, and students will be taught how to incorporate music, images and video to enhance their projects.

SODA's digital lab will be 100 percent state-of-the art MAC based with only the most sophisticated digital equipment.

In addition to SODA being largely computer and digitally focused, the school will also focus on community service with students taught how best they can serve their own town and county...
More at: School of Dreams Academy to open with 125 students on Tuesday

Film industry is good for local economy

Alamogordo Daily News
Tony Mandalia, General manager, Best Western Desert Aire, Alamogordo
Posted: 08/02/2009 12:00:00 AM MDT

Contrary to what has recently been published in the Alamogordo Daily News and other sources, I believe the film industry's presence in New Mexico has an unprecedented positive impact on the community and the state.

As an hotelier in Alamogordo, I have seen and benefited from the film industry in New Mexico. In having discussions with other hoteliers, I have learned that this is not the only hotel that has benefited from film. The overall economic impact studies seem to be inaccurate because they do not take into account the number of times the dollars spent here change hands in the local community.

For example, not only did we experience our highest revenue in the history of this hotel in 2008, but we also were able to employ and pay out wages to employees in record amounts just the same. My employees can only earn more when there is more work to be done.

I can also speak for restaurants in the area such as Chili's and Applebee's, whom also benefit largely from local film production. When discussing the impact with restaurant managers, they concur that sales are significantly lower when films are not in production. In turn, they report record sales when films are being made locally.

Local film productions generate way more than what they cost, and we should continue to push for more films in New Mexico. The community and surrounding areas thrive off the dollars spent here, as film has grown to be a key element to our local economy. Let's not take this away.

Thursday, July 30, 2009

The 'Hurt Locker' New Mexican Connection

Robert Nott at the Santa Fe New Mexican has been getting some good stories recently from the people making our Film, TV and Media scene really work. It's great to see the wealth of talent we have here in New Mexico.
'Hurt Locker' producer lauds film crew — and New Mexico industry

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
7/28/2009 - 7/29/09
The cinematic thriller The Hurt Locker suggests that war is hell, but that some people can get quite comfortable being there all the same.

Apparently filmmaking can be the same way, for the blood, sweat and heat captured on-camera in the production was mirrored behind the scenes, according to Tony Mark, executive producer of the film.

"It's a tough, tough movie about a tough, tough subject," Mark said in an interview in his Santa Fe home. "There was a palpable tension throughout on the set. It was just like the onscreen story of three guys who fight with each other, but when the time comes to do the work, they come together to get the job done."

The Hurt Locker, a fast-moving, adrenaline-rushing drama that follows the exploits of a trio of Explosive Ordnance Disposal soldiers in war-torn Baghdad, opened at Regal DeVargas last week. Scripted by journalist Mark Boal and directed by Kathryn Bigelow — best known for her intelligently fashioned action movies Point Break and Strange Days — the picture was shot over a period of 44 days, mainly in the Jordanian desert.

Tony Mark was born in New York City and started his show business career in theater before heading to Los Angeles. Among his production credits — dating back to at least the early 1980s — are The Fisher King, Once Upon a Time in Mexico, and the New Mexico-shot films Bordertown and Georgia O'Keeffe. The latter will premiere on Lifetime in September...

Mark said he supports New Mexico's continued efforts to draw filmmakers here.

Noting that while The Hurt Locker pulled the crew from 15 different countries, "On Georgia O'Keeffe I brought in just three people from L.A. — the rest of the crew came from New Mexico," he said. "That speaks volumes about what's happened to the movie business here."

He estimates the O'Keeffe production injected at least $5 million into the local economy. "Do not tell me that the movies don't rain manna from heaven for communities who are impacted, because they do," he said. "Movies as an economic engine are great for any place — and particularly this fantastic place called New Mexico."
Read the full story at: 'Hurt Locker' producer lauds film crew — and New Mexico industry

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Friday, July 24, 2009

SF New Mexican: Some Towns Welcome Movie Industry Impact

Somewhat in response to the recent LA Times story on Las Vegas, NM, comes this from the Santa Fe New Mexican:
In N.M. towns such as Carrizozo, Roy, movie industry's impact welcome

Robert Nott | The New Mexican
7/23/2009 - 7/24/09
Hollywood turned the small New Mexico town of Carrizozo into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, and the only complaint came from a dog.

The Denzel Washington thriller The Book of Eli, shot in and around Carrizozo (population about 935) earlier this year, financially benefited the town through jobs and spending for such things as lodging and meals.

"I don't know the financial impact yet, but they hired 120 extras, and 39 were from Carrizozo," said Dirk Norris, president of the local chamber of commerce and now the town's film liaison for the New Mexico Film Office. "They hired 15 people as security guards, two as location or production assistants. And they hired a concrete/cement company to provide rubble. They also used one of the local junkyards to provide crushed cars. They even rented a pile of red bricks."

Norris heard but one gripe: "I was on a street corner talking to a reporter from KOAT when a woman came up and said, 'When is this damn film going to be over? These people are driving my dog nuts!' "

But the pet problem was nothing compared to the grief expressed in a recent Los Angeles Times article that reported some Las Vegas, N.M., residents aren't too happy with the film business. The piece spotlighted several Las Vegas citizens who felt film artists acted like "they're a big deal" and who griped about street closings and businesses losing customers while such productions as No Country For Old Men and Paul (a sci-fi comedy currently shooting there) are in town.

That article set off a string of online comments from film-industry supporters suggesting such publicity hurts the industry and led various town leaders to tout the plus side of show business...

Thursday, July 23, 2009

NMBW: Film Frames

From the NM Business Weekly:

New ABQ film festival focuses on Downtown economic development

The new Albuquerque Film Festival kicks off Aug. 6-9, and founder Rich Henrich promises something a bit different. In addition to screenings and panels, there will also be theater, flamenco and related arts.

It will also focus on culture as Downtown economic development, he said. The city is already a production hub, which the festival will highlight. And the festival will tie into Downtown restaurants, clubs and other businesses, as well as mass transit.

Festival headquarters are at First Street and Gold Avenue on the ground floor of the Gold Avenue Lofts. The McCune Charitable Foundation made the space available at a discount. Screenings will take place at the Kimo Theater, thanks to the city of Albuquerque. Henrich has raised about $70,000 from businesses and the city for the festival.

Henrich came to Santa Fe in 2007 to produce the sci-fi flick, “Starwatch.” He taught film production and screenwriting. His nonprofit Film For Change was a sponsor of the 2008Santa Fe Film Festival.

Panels will explore the financial components of putting together a film and the benefits of investing in productions. There will be a session on location shooting in New Mexico and possibly digital filmmaking and lighting workshops...

More at: New ABQ film festival focuses on Downtown economic development

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

NMBW: "film industry blunts recession’s impact"

You have to be a subscriber (or buy a copy), but there's a nice article in the NM Business Weekly about how some local businesses are benefitting from film production in New Mexico:

Businesses find film industry blunts recession’s impact
New Mexico Business Weekly - by Megan Kamerick NMBW Staff

When the production team from “Terminator: Salvation” called Wes Young and asked him to round up 50 gallons of baby oil, he didn’t bat an eye.

Young is the sales manager of RAKS Building Supply Inc., but he dutifully combed the city until he accumulated the 50 gallons. Then they wanted 50 pounds of ceratic acid. That took about a week, Young said, and he had to find it in Pennsylvania. He also had to get a license to sell it.

“Thank God for the Internet,” he says...

More info at:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Becoming Eduardo Premieres in Las Cruces

Las Cruces-Made Movie, 'Becoming Eduardo" Premiers at Rio Grande
June 25, 2009

Jun. 25--LAS CRUCES --Catch the debut of hometown stars and filmmakers with local roots at a special screening today. The final cut of "Becoming Eduardo," a locally-produced independent film, will be screened at 7 p.m. today at the Rio Grande Theatre on the Downtown Mall.

Among filmmakers on hand for a question and answer session will be Rod McCall, the director and writer of the movie, which is based on the novella "Alternative Ed" by LouAnne Johnson, a former Las Cruces High School teacher who wrote "My Posse Don't Do Homework," which became the hit 1995 film "Dangerous Minds."

McCall also co-produced the film with Bradley Littlefield and executive producer Garland Bills.

The film was shot last summer in southern New Mexico with primary locations in Hillsboro and Truth or Consequences.

"Becoming Eduardo" features newcomers Julian Alcaraz, Elizabeth Blanco and Mike Dunay as well as film and television veterans A. Martinez, Holly Riddle, Josh Cruze, Gary Perez and Elizabeth Pena.

Filmed in association with The Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University, where McCall is an instructor, "Becoming Eduardo" also features actors Mariah Talent and Adrien Gloria from Las Cruces' Alma d'Arte charter high school for the arts, as well as the school's executive artistic producer and founder, Irene Oliver-Lewis. Several of McCall's students acted as production assistants on the film.

According to a synopsis provided by McCall, "Eddie Coraz n (Alcaraz), a

16-year-old juvenile delinquent and secret reader, who attends an alternative high school in rural New Mexico, now walks a thin line between tragedy and glory as he searches for his place in the world. Torn between the violent macho world of his best friend T.J. (Dunay) and the academic world inhabited by understanding teachers and a bewitching college-bound beauty named Lupe (Blanco), Eddie finds himself pulled in opposite directions, but realizes that the course of his life is, indeed, up to him. Making the right decision, however, is much harder than it seems."

Tickets, at $6, can be purchased online through or For information, call the Dona Ana Arts Council (DAAC) at (575) 523-6403. Proceeds from the screening will benefit DAAC programs.

S. Derrickson Moore can be reached at

If you go

What: "Becoming Eduardo" screening

When: 7 p.m. today

Where: Rio Grande Theatre, Downtown Mall

How much: $6

Info & tickets: (575) 523-6403. or

Friday, June 26, 2009

WhatisPaul Production Blog Launched

Production blogs for movies have become a more and more popular way to build some buzz and get info out about the productions (Observe and Report had some good crew blogs last year, and McG's blog for Terminator Salvation had good clips and info on that production, often before any other source). The latest I've seen for a NM shoot is on WhatisPaul. It looks pretty cool.

From Empire Movie News Online:
Paul Production Blog Goes Live
Find out latest on Pegg/Frost comedy
Source: What Is Paul?

What is Paul?

Well, Paul is Greg Mottola’s new sci-fi comedy written by and starring Simon Pegg and Nick Frost, about two British slackers travelling across America who bump into a fugitive alien, voiced by Seth Rogen. It’s currently being shot on location in New Mexico – or Mexico Zero – as we speak.

What is whatisPaul?

Well, whatisPaul? is the new production blog for the movie that’s just gone live on the internets, featuring a whole lot of video content – shot by Lance Bangs, who directed R.E.M.’s excellent tour film, Road Movie – photos taken by Simon, and much, much more...

Visit the actual blog at:

Wednesday, June 24, 2009

NM in Variety

They've done it again: Variety has another set of articles focused on work being done here in New Mexico. Plenty of good information -- be sure to share them with your friends and potential business contacts.

Select films shot in New Mexico
Projects that show the state's production depth

Includes breakdowns/overviews of: "The Book of Eli", "Crash", "The Men Who Stare at Goats", "Paul", Terminator Salvation", Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", and "Year One".

New Mexico backs new film workshop
Program to develop Hispanic, Native American talent
New Mexico can now add Sundance cred to its filmmaker-friendly resume. The state is backing a workshop-style program for Native American and Hispanic helmers, initiated by Gov. Bill Richardson and Sundance Institute founder Robert Redford, to encourage new talent and develop media projects as well as provide technical training.

Despite the success of the state's film incentive program (125 features shot in six years), a key element was under-realized.

"We still lack above-the-line personnel, such as producers and writers," Richardson contends, "and there is a scarcity of upper-echelon Hispanic and Native American filmmakers." Citing the state's population demographics -- 43% Hispanic and 12% Native American -- he adds, "Everybody in the state realizes film initiatives have created a new industry, and a lot of our Native American and Hispanic population want to be part of it; it's our obligation to include them."...

Reelz sets up shop in Albuquerque
Entertainment cabler moves to cut costs, unify
Six months ago, ReelzChannel said it was leaving its offices in Los Angeles, the center of the entertainment world, for Albuquerque, the center of New Mexico.

It seemed like an odd choice for the showbiz-focused cabler, but chairman-CEO Stan E. Hubbard says the decision to put the channel's L.A.- and Minneapolis/ St. Paul-based programming, production, Web, marketing and communications departments into a 30,000-square-foot facility under one roof was a no-brainer.

"We are a startup, 100% advertiser-supported business, and L.A. is an expensive place," Hubbard says of the company that launched in September 2006. "Once we learned about the opportunities in New Mexico, it really was shame-on-us if we didn't pursue them."...

New Mexico set apart by cheap loans
No-interest plan directly invests in visiting films
...What has turned New Mexico into a major film center is its bountiful package of tax incentives. There is a 25% rebate available for all taxable expenditures in the state. New Mexico also subsidizes 50% of wages paid to local crew trainees. Finally -- and most unusually -- the state offers productions interest-free loans for up to $15 million.

Other states hand out bigger tax breaks (the highest in the nation is Michigan's 42% tax credit). But New Mexico's no-interest loan provision is unique among the 40 states that now offer some sort of financial filming incentive.

"It used to be the part of our incentive that was viewed with the most skepticism," explains Eric Witt, deputy chief of staff to Gov. Bill Richardson, who calls the state's aggressive attempts to attract the film industry "the biggest bonanza we've had." In fact, discussions are under way to raise the ceiling to $30 million...

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Up Next? Transformers

Big movies tend to have big media promotion campaigns -- which have been great for New Mexico. The latest media blitz we're seeing is for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen" which did much of its production in and around Alamogordo.

The El Paso Times has this...

White Sands Missile range goes Hollywood in new 'Transformers' sequel

EL PASO -- Talk about a military operation.

When director Michael Bay and his army of filmmakers wanted to shoot a climactic desert battle sequence for "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen," they turned to the real Army (and Air Force) for help -- and hardware.

The cast, including stars Shia LaBeouf and Megan Fox, and crew of more than 250 people holed up in Alamogordo last summer to work on what's sure to be one of the biggest blockbusters of the year. LaBeouf returns as Sam Witwicky, now a college student who gets in the middle, again, of a battle between the good robots, known as Autobots, and the bad ones, Decepticons. Much mechanical mayhem ensues. The movie will open Wednesday.

The filmmakers shot for a month in southeastern New Mexico -- about 20 minutes worth of on-screen footage -- at White Sands Missile Range and Holloman Air Force Base, both of which also were featured in the first "Transformers" movie two years ago. Other scenes were shot in Tularosa and the Lincoln National Forest on the Mescalero Apache Reservation.

More at White Sands Missile range goes Hollywood in new 'Transformers' sequel