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...

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