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

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Cinnafilm Teams w/ ARRI

We've already posted the good news to the MISP lists, but it's great to see the buzz around ARRI's relativity product bundle (including Cinnafilm tech) continuing to grow...

From Studio Daily:

ARRI Unveils Cinnafilm Software at Fotokem

By Debra Kaufman

...At the Burbank-based Fotokem, which has been beta-testing Cinnafilm’s suite of image processing software tools, a technology launch event celebrated the availability of the software via ARRI worldwide sales channels. Cinnafilm signed a multi-year, multi-million dollar global reseller agreement with ARRI, giving that company the worldwide rights to market and resell Cinnafilm’s software, newly christened ARRI Relativity, dubbed “a space/time converter.” As part of

DPs Amy Vincent and Daryn Okada flank ARRI's An Tranh

DPs Amy Vincent and Daryn Okada flank ARRI's An Tranh

the agreement, Cinnafilm will provide ARRI with ongoing technical support and feature upgrades.

“From the first demonstration, we understood the power of Cinnafilm’s Pixel Strings platform, and we’re excited about the opportunity to bring a family of technically advanced new software products to our post production customers,” said Glenn Kennel, CTO, ARRI, Inc.

Cinnafilm’s software suite provides professional-grade format conversion, retiming, film simulation, degraining and texture control—innovative technology co-developed with Digital Film Central — all on a single workstatioadvance its own independent R&D.

The event at Fotokem drew numerous Hollywood cinematographers, including ASC President Daryn Okada, ASC; Vilmos Zsigmond, ASC; Nancy Schreiber, ASC; Amy Vincent, ASC and many others. In demonstration rooms, ARRI CTO Glenn Kennel and demo artist Sarah Priestnall, showed off the features of the Cinnafilm software. Priestnall showed how quick and easy it was to up-rez material to 4K or slow down the action 10 percent. She also showed 60i wildlife footage that, on the fly, she de-interlaced and transformed to 24P. She also showed adding grain, to better integrate digital footage with film footage.”With enough andwidth, these conversions can happen in real-time,” reported Cinnafilm founder/CEO Lance Maurer. “You’ll need a lot of disc bandwidth to do that, obviously, but it can be done.”

Maurer came from a mechanical engineering background and worked in aerospace. But he also had a yen to make movies and shot two proejcts in 16mm. “As I gbot better at my expensive hobby, I looked into digital cameras, but the result didn’t look as good as film,” he said. The engineer in him saw a problem that needed to be solved, and what started as a short research project turned into a five year R&D effort. “I had to find the programmers to do what I was trying to create,” he said. To keep going, he sold stock in the nascent company, and first showed a pre-release–which was just a video-to-film look–at NAB 2008. But he got enough attention to get Fotokem interested; that post facility became a beta-test site for the software. Later, with Vancouver-based Digital Film Central, which had a previous relationship with ARRI, Cinnafilm worked on texture control...

More at ARRI Unveils Cinnafilm Software at Fotokem

Relativity release in High Definition Magazine:

From the Cinematography boards: