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: