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.