Monday, March 23, 2009

20th Annual NMAMA Marketer of the Year Awards

20th Annual Marketer of the Year Awards

The New Mexico Chapter of the American Marketing Association (NMAMA) will host the 20th Annual Marketer of the Year (MOY) Awards program on Thursday, April 16th at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center. The Awards program starts at 6:00pm with an exciting silent auction. Tickets are $45 for members and $55 for non-members.

The award recognizes and applauds marketers for achieving outstanding results in multiple categories. The MOY competition is open to any company, agency, not-for-profit or government organization that developed, implemented, and sufficiently completed a marketing program in New Mexico between January 1, 2008 and December 31, 2008. Within each category, awards of merit will be honored as well as the Marketer of the Year. The Marketer of the Year from each category will compete for the Best of MOY award, the top honor in marketing. The 2009 recipients will receive the MOY award, designed by local artist Wendell Unzicker.

This year’s Master of Ceremonies is Bill Sterling. Bill Sterling has an extensive background in music and entertainment, an infectious sense of humor, and a passion for living. He brings an enthusiastic energy to everything he does.

Silent auction items include: An Olympic Flag from the Beijing 2008 Summer Olympics autographed by the USA men's and women's gymnastic team, a custom-made blanket cedar chest, overnight accommodations, art, jewelry, Popejoy tickets, and golf passes! Proceeds from the awards program will benefit the University of New Mexico’s student marketing organization.

Established in 1983, The New Mexico Chapter of the American Marketing Association (NMAMA) represents marketing professionals throughout New Mexico. NMAMA provides a forum for the educational and professional development of its members by hosting numerous events and programs throughout the year.

View Event Summary

Wednesday, April 15, 2009
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Friday, March 20, 2009

Update from Michigan

The questions of economic impact from production incentives seem to have subsided for now, with most agreeing the programs are a net gain for New Mexico. For a fairly clear and readable study from another state, Michigan State University has just released a study on their even more aggressive rebate program -- including a look at the impact of Tourism and other difficult-to-measure benefits. Michigan's WXYZ has this story:

MI Movie Business Booming
A Michigan State University study has found that the state of Michigan’s law providing tax credits for film production companies that shoot their movies in Michigan is a big-time hit.
The study, conducted by MSU’s Center for Economic Analysis, found that in 2008, 32 film productions were completed, generating more than $65 million in spending and creating more than 2,700 jobs. And this was just in the eight months since the law was enacted in April of 2008.

“It’s amazing how much activity we had in such a short period of time,” said Steven Miller, CEA director and director of the study. “Many of these projects had already established they were going somewhere else, but quickly changed gears and moved to Michigan when they learned of the tax incentives.”

Among other things, the Michigan Film Production Incentive Program provides a tax credit of up to 42 percent of the amount a production company spends while producing a motion picture in Michigan.

The MSU study, conducted for the Michigan Film Office by request of the Michigan Economic Development Corp., found that film production companies spent $65.4 million in Michigan in 2008 -- $25.1 million on direct wages and salaries and $40.3 million on Michigan goods and services...
More at: MI Movie Business Booming

For Complete Report Click Here

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Film Incentives, Again

New Mexico is featured prominently in at least a dozen or so articles each week about film and media incentives -- often from producers and legislators in other states who envy the success of our program.

The latest, in today's New York Times, discusses what they're doing in Michigan: 

States Underwrite Films, Some in Narrowest Release
LOS ANGELES — Andrew van den Houten, a producer and director, made his movie “Offspring,” about a baby-hungry cannibal clan, with a boost from the taxpayers of Michigan.

Now comes the hard part: getting people to watch it.

“We haven’t had one of our films get major theatrical release,” said Mr. van den Houten, whose ModerncinĂ© company has produced five movies mostly for horror fans, who can find them on video or at genre festivals like Toronto After Dark. This time around he is happy to have landed “Offspring,” which cost roughly $1 million — 35 percent picked up by the state — with Grindstone Entertainment Group and its Ghost House Underground direct-to-video line.

So it goes with a growing number of subsidy films made in Michigan and elsewhere around the country. They may not be coming to a theater near you.

Under an unusually aggressive program of state film incentives that began in April, nearly two dozen feature-length movies (in addition to short films, documentaries and television shows) were shot in Michigan last year with public support that can reach 42 percent of a movie’s cost, the largest such incentive offered in the United States.

The idea is to create employment in that economically depressed state. The ploy was recently matched by California, which devised a film credit of its own to compete with incentives now offered by three dozen states, including New Mexico, New York and Louisiana.

The first round of Michigan credits cost that state’s taxpayers about $48 million in 2008, while generating about $53.8 million in new employment income, and the equivalent of 1,102 full-time jobs, according to a report last month by the Center for Economic Analysis at Michigan State University.

But only a handful of pictures shot with the subsidy have secured theatrical distribution. The shining stars are Clint Eastwood’s “Gran Torino,” a Michigan-backed movie that was released by Warner Brothers in December, and “Youth in Revolt,” which was directed by Miguel Arteta, stars Michael Cera, and is scheduled for release by the Dimension Films unit of the Weinstein Company next fall.

The rest, by and large, are pointed toward festivals, video stores and pay-per-view services — if that.


Whether government-subsidized films are ever seen by a significant audience may not matter much in the short run.

“What matters is that you maximize employment for residents in the state,” said Eric Witt, chief of staff to the New Mexico governor, Bill Richardson, who began an extensive incentive program in his state shortly after taking office in 2003.

Still, the audience has something to say about the sustainability of incentives. “If you’re making shoes and nobody’s wearing them, it doesn’t create a brand,” said Mr. Witt, whose state has helped underwrite films as prominent as “Terminator Salvation,” a $200 million action epic set for release by Warner Brothers in May.

Each state’s experience with film subsidies has been different, and the mix of movies may change with time. In Michigan the sudden availability of a large incentive in a state with relatively little film infrastructure appears to have drawn a rush of projects that could be started quickly but had uncertain prospects.

There, as elsewhere, officials are largely agnostic about a film’s commercial potential when authorizing a credit.

“We’re not going to say if you’ve got an independent film that isn’t going to be released in a thousand theaters, we’re not going to fund it,” said Ken Droz, manager of the creative and communications department at the Michigan Film Office, which administers the state’s credits.

The state does consider a film’s possible impact on tourism. It helps if Michigan looks attractive, even when it’s doubling for Texas, as it did in “Whip It!,” a roller-derby romp that was directed by Drew Barrymore and does not yet have a distributor... 

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Movie Industry Running Strong; Breaking Bad Updates

From the LA Times:
Movies with 'legs' keep industry running strong
More hold up beyond debuts, helping box office race past last year.
By Claudia Eller
March 9, 2009
Hollywood is witnessing a phenomenon it hasn't seen in more than a decade -- movies with legs.

Pictures that hang in at the box office over multiple weekends -- known as "having legs" among theater operators and studio executives -- are contributing to a sharp rise in attendance and ticket revenue. The upsurge is a welcome respite for Hollywood, where weak consumer spending has undercut DVD sales, long the backbone of the movie industry.

So far the recession doesn't appear to have dampened trips to the multiplex, where ticket prices in major cities now top $8 and a tub of popcorn can cost more than $5. Attendance at movie theaters in the first nine weeks of 2009, typically one of the slowest periods for ticket sales, is up 14.8% over last year, according to Media by Numbers, a box office tracking firm. Box office revenue is up 16.5%.

Holdover films such as Sony Pictures' comedy "Paul Blart: Mall Cop," 20th Century Fox's thriller "Taken," Focus Features' animated film "Coraline" and Warner Bros.' "Gran Torino" have continued to attract audiences for several weeks, some even months, after they debuted.

Fox Searchlight's low-cost "Slumdog Millionaire," which opened in a handful of theaters more than three months ago and swept the Oscars, continues to be a must-see. In theaters for 17 weeks, the drama about an uneducated teenager from Mumbai who becomes an unlikely winner on India's "Who Wants to Be a Millionaire" game show, is still the fourth-most-popular movie in America.

Theater operators and movie distributors attribute the upswing to a diversity of offerings that are drawing a wide range of moviegoers.

"Our industry continues to demonstrate that as long as there are appealing films that are connecting with the audience, we are very much recession-resistant," said Mike Campbell, chief executive of Regal Entertainment Group, the largest operator of theaters in the U.S.

Executives say films with staying power are unusual in today's competitive environment, where several movies open each weekend and appear on thousands of screens. Consequently, releases tend to crowd one another out, triggering significant declines in their second and third weekends at the box office.

"There are more films staying around longer," said Ted Mundorff, chief operating officer of Landmark Theatres, which operates the most popular art house multiplex on the Westside of Los Angeles. Mundorff estimates that his circuit's business is up 25% this year, thanks to such pictures as "The Wrestler," "The Reader," "Milk" and "Slumdog."

Although the bump in ticket sales has been good for challenged theater operators, whose business hasn't markedly grown in years and has been propped up by higher ticket prices, it means less for the movie studios because they earn the bulk of their profits from DVD sales, which have fallen sharply.

Jeff Blake, head of worldwide marketing and distribution at Sony Pictures, said he has been surprised at how movies such as "Paul Blart," "Taken" and "Gran Torino" have held on to audiences.

"We haven't seen this since 'Titanic,' where multiple pictures are doing three, four or five times their opening weekend gross," Blake said. James Cameron's 1997 disaster epic, starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslett, remained the top-grossing picture for 15 consecutive weeks largely because of young women making repeated visits to the theater. "Titanic," which played in theaters for nine months, generated $1.8 billion in worldwide ticket sales -- still a record.

Blake thinks the recent legs phenomenon is a sign that a broader audience is showing up. In recent years, the box office has been propelled by younger moviegoers, who tend to see a film the weekend it opens. "Now you're also getting an older audience going week two and three," Blake said.

Generally, however, theater operators are enjoying the ride.

Tim Warner, president of Dallas-based Cinemark USA, the country's third-largest theater operator, said that although every industry was going through treacherous times, "I don't know if any business has as good news as the movie business."

More at Movies with 'legs' keep industry running strong

Over in the Albuquerque Journal, Dan Mayfield has an update on Breaking Bad -- whose second season premiered this past Sunday (it was pretty intense -- nice cliffhanger too):

Cranston Rides High on 'Breaking Bad,' Directing
By Dan Mayfield
Of the Journal
This is a busy weekend for Emmy-winning actor Bryan Cranston.

Last night, he had his first feature-film directorial debut on Womens' Entertainment Network (WE TV), and, tonight, the new season of "Breaking Bad" premiers on AMC.
The series' new season has been earning huge amounts of critical acclaim, and rightly so. It stars Cranston as a high school chemistry teacher whose life is in shambles. He's diagnosed with cancer, he has a rough family life and his career is stalled. Using his chemistry chops, he turns to making high-powered meth, and, next thing you know, he's playing drug kingpin — even if it is more in his mind than in reality.
"Breaking Bad" is both filmed and set in Albuquerque.

"Walter is a smart man," Cranston said. "The angst he's dealing with, it's an example of a man making bad decisions. They're not good ones. He could say, 'My God, what have I done,' but he doesn't want to. He's on this quest."

TV critics are getting it. The New York Times ran a flattering story on the show Friday, and, this week in Entertainment Weekly, mystery writer Stephen King said, " 'Breaking Bad' " is "for viewers who like their suspense cocktails a little stronger than the usual 'Law & Order' mojito."

...Cranston has become a New Mexican since the show started filming here at Albuquerque Studios. He has a house near Nob Hill and hangs out at some Nob Hill night spots.

...'Breaking Bad' Contest
If you dig "Breaking Bad," take a shot at being on the show by entering AMC's "Breaking Bad" contest. Simply record a video of yourself performing one of Walter White's monologues and post it. There's a lot more info at — including text of the monologues. Hey, I'm a fan, so I recorded a video that I'm going to send in. Vote for me, or, send in your own, and I might just vote for you, too. Check out my video at

More at Cranston Rides High on 'Breaking Bad,' Directing