Thursday, October 29, 2009

Film and Digital Media in Santa Fe Trend

Many of you have seen this already, but there are two great piece to see in the Fall/Winter issue of (Santa Fe) Trend Magazine.

The "FILM NOW" article from Hugh Elliott is a good recap of New Mexico's film history, recent activity, how we're faring against our competitors and some thoughts on the future.

The issue also highlights Corrales-based Ideum in their Business Profiles Section. Ideum's new 100" Multitouch table... is really awesome. Check out their blog for more information including details on their new GestureWorks framework for creating complex multitouch applications.

Plus... Trend's a pretty cool magazine.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

NM makes Variety's Top 5 Filmmaking Places

New Mexico continues to perform near the top of North American locations for filmmaking, recognized as #3 by Variety's recent poll of industry pros. Here's the article:

Pros pick best places for filmmaking
Industry insiders choose world's greatest locations

recently conducted an online poll among several hundred location managers, unit production managers, cinematographers, directors and assistant directors asking them to rate their favorite locations according to visual appeal, incentives, film-office support, production resources, and ability to substitute for another location.

The top five North American locations and the top five international locations, ranked here by overall excellence, are regions or cities that scored high on most or all of the criteria. Following these top 10 locations is a list of places cited by the polled pros for excelling in specific categories.


#1 California

Los Angeles and environs, San Diego, San Francisco and spots throughout the state

While California reels from the double whammy of a lousy economy and continued runaway production, it's easy to forget just how much the state has to offer. It still has the deepest talent pool -- both in front of and behind the camera -- and the largest and most technologically advanced production infrastructure and equipment in the world.

Plus, the state offers varied outdoor locations, including snow-capped mountains, sandy beaches, rolling vineyards and misty forests -- not to mention the hilly streets of San Francisco and palm-fringed urban landscape of L.A. The state's coast has hosted such films as "Sideways" and "Pirates of the Caribbean 3," its arid stretches have doubled for Iraq and Afghanistan, and at the center of the action is Hollywood, the longtime center of the global entertainment industry, with its backlots and studios.

Now, for the first time, California has taken steps to stem runaway production. The state enacted a 20%-25% tax credit -- in a bill signed by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who made his name in Hollywood -- that went into effect July 1.

#2 New York

Manhattan, the rest of New York City plus upstate locations

Filmmakers have flocked to the Big Apple since the early days of cinema, drawn by its restless energy, its world-famous skyscrapers and backdrops that range from the mansions of Fifth Avenue to the gritty back alleys of Hell's Kitchen. There's no more authentic place to capture a New York street scene, as Oliver Stone is currently doing in "Wall Street 2," or to create a mythical New York, as Woody Allen has done.

The city boasts an abundance of skilled crews and major studios like Silvercup, Kaufman-Astoria and Steiner -- plus the facilities of the TV networks headquartered there.

Outside the city, filmmakers have long explored locations ranging from Long Island, the Hudson Valley, the Catskills and other picturesque regions. Helping the state attract productions: a 30%-35% refundable state tax credit on qualified expenses.

#3 New Mexico

Albuquerque, other cities and remote areas

Known for scenery that ranges from white desert sands to forested mountains, New Mexico also offers a 25% tax rebate on all production costs and local labor payments. This aggressive incentive has spurred a heavy production slate, promoting growth in studio and stage space. This year alone has seen 15 major feature film productions as well as various TV series. The newest facility is the giant Albuquerque Studios complex, joining Albuquerque-based Rio Grande Studios. But while Albuquerque remains the center of gravity, production is also moving to remoter areas like Deming ("Indiana Jones 4"), Clovis ("Believe in Me") and Las Cruces ("Transformers"). The state claims the largest crew base outside the coasts -- more than 3,000. A new studio complex is being built in Santa Fe.

More at the article here: Pros pick best places for filmmaking

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Governor Bill Richardson Congratulates “New Visions” Winner on Taking Top Honors at International Film Festival

For Immediate Release Contact: Alarie Ray-Garcia
October 21, 2009 (505) 476-2248
Governor Bill Richardson Congratulates “New Visions” Winner on Taking Top Honors at International Film Festival
SANTA FE-Governor Bill Richardson today congratulated “New Visions/New Mexico winner Ilana Lapid for winning best short film for “Red Mesa” during the13th Annual Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival. Lapid wrote and directed the film, which beat out hundreds of other entries for top honors. The prestigious event is an Oscar qualifying film festival, which means that “Red Mesa” can now be submitted to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for consideration of Oscar contention.
Lapid was one of the first recipients of the state’s New Visions/New Mexico Contract Awards, receiving $15,000.00 toward the making of “Red Mesa.” She co-produced the film with local New Mexicans Jake Pokluda and John Ward, worked with local first Assistant Director, Dennis Crow, and many other New Mexico film crew on this project through the Film Technician Training Program at New Mexico State University Dona Ana Community College and with the support of the International Alliance of Theatrical and Stage Employees Local 480.
“Ilana Lapid has made the State of New Mexico proud with her win at this prestigious international film festival,” said Governor Richardson. “I created the New Visions program to support the overwhelming talent and creativity of our homegrown filmmakers and I am proud that this effort is helping our filmmakers realize their deserved international acclaim.”
In exchange for their contract awards, recipients of the New Visions/New Mexico Contract Awards must provide a service to the state’s film efforts, such as training other New Mexico filmmakers who are new to the industry, workshops and seminars and conducting outreach to high school students interested in pursuing film/media careers. The Film Technician Training Program is now offered at five community colleges around the state including: Dona Ana Community College, Santa Fe Community College, CNM in Albuquerque, Northern New Mexico College at El Rito, and Eastern New Mexico University at Roswell. More information on these programs are available on the New Mexico Film Office website, under “Workforce Advancement.”
Set against the backdrop of the US/Mexico border, “Red Mesa” is the coming of age story of Lynn, 17, caught in between her love for her grandfather and her forbidden romance with a Mexican laborer from a neighboring ranch. Lynn’s deception of both men leads to a terrible accident when the three of them are thrown together under a situation of great stress. Coming face to face with the painful realities of the border, Lynn realizes that meaningful relationships can only be based on honesty and the courage to stand up for what you believe.
The film is dedicated to the late Michael Laurence, who was in charge of the NMSU Film Technician’s Training Program at that time and was a strong supporter of Ilana and this project.

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

More success for NM New Visions Winners: Red Mesa

The NM New Visions Contract Award program really seems to be hitting its stride with more and more funded projects winning awards -- and highlighting filmmaking here in New Mexico. The latest is Ilana Lapid with her film, "Red Mesa".

From Ilana:
"I shot "Red Mesa," my USC thesis film, on a cattle ranch in southern NM (near Las Cruces) under the mentorship of Mark Medoff, in collaboration with CMI, with the generous support of Eric Witt, Lisa Strout and the NM Film Office, FTTP and Jon Hendry. As well as with tremendous help from Mike Laurance - who passed away several months after production, and to whom the film is dedicated. We premiered at the NY Latino International Film Festival, and will be playing next at Santa Fe Film Festival..."
She's currently in New Haven, CT where she's currently Artist in Residence at Slifka Center at Yale. She hopes to return to NM to shoot her first feature film after her residency is completed.


Ilana Lapid’s Red Mesa, a fictional drama set on the U.S.–Mexico border, was awarded Best Short Film during the closing night gala for the 2009 Los Angeles Latino International Film Festival (LALIFF). The awards ceremony took place at the Paramount Studios lot in Hollywood on October 16.

Red Mesa tells the story of Lynn, who is unable to share her beloved grandfather’s dreams for her future and charts her own path by seeking love beyond familiar borders. Caught in the crossfire of her affection for her grandfather and her secret love with an undocumented worker, Lynn must decide which borders she is willing to cross. Set on a cattle ranch on the U.S.– Mexico Border, Red Mesa is a powerful cinematic exploration of love, loyalty and coming of age through a young woman’s struggle with difficult choices. The film stars veteran actor Tom Bower along with newcomers Jessica Spotts and Gabriel Rivera.

350 short films were submitted to LALIFF this year, of which 37 were selected to screen in the festival. Red Mesa was chosen to receive the Best Short Film award by a jury panel including director Patricia Riggen, visual effect artist Charlie Iturriaga, and actors William Marquez and Jeremy Ray Valdez.

LALIFF is an Oscar® qualifying festival, which means that Red Mesa may now be considered for a Best Live Action Short Film Academy Award.

Ilana Lapid is a 2008 graduate of the University of Southern California (USC) School of Cinematic Arts. Red Mesa was her USC MFA thesis film, shot on 35mm in southern New Mexico with support from an inaugural New Visions/New Mexico Contract Award given by the New Mexico Film Office. To date, Lapid has produced three award-winning USC films and directed 11 short films, for which she was awarded both the Jack Nicholson and the John Huston Directing Awards from USC.

Red Mesa will next screen at the 2009 Santa Fe Film Festival, taking place December 2–6 in New Mexico. The film made its world premiere at the 2009 New York Latino International Film Festival in July. More details on the film can be found at


For more information about Red Mesa or to inquire about
interviews, please contact Lisa Y. Garibay at or 213-840-3517.

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Las Cruces Town Hall for Film & Digital Media

There's a lot of great film and media work going on in the Las Cruces area -- but we don't always see much coverage of that in the Albuquerque and Santa Fe media markets. Raising their profile and building connections between all of New Mexico's communities was part of the reason for the Governor's Council on Film and Media Industries Town Hall in Las Cruces on October 8th.

From the Las Cruces Sun-News:
Southern New Mexico ready for a bigger slice of movie-making pie
By S. Derrickson Moore Sun-News reporter
Posted: 10/09/2009 12:00:00 AM MDT

LAS CRUCES - Southern New Mexico is ready for a bigger piece of the state's movie pie, locals and film professionals from throughout the state agreed at a town hall meeting Thursday hosted by the Governor's Council on Film and Media Industries (GCFMI) at Alma d'arte Charter High School.

Build infrastructure such as a Western set, continue to train media-savvy students, collaborate creatively with northern New Mexico and Borderland colleagues and take advantage of our great year-around filming locations, professionals advised, and Las Cruces should be poised for success.

It could have been a tense week to muster support for movie-making in our region, after the closure of Highway 70 to film "Due Date" resulted in traffic jams that irked thousands of area commuters. But locals still bulllish on plans to make Las Cruces into Hollywood on the Rio Grande flocked to the meeting and networking and strategy sessions.

The goal of the gathering, held in association with the High Tech Consortium of Southern New Mexico, was "to gather input on the future of the state's burgeoning film and media industries" with an agenda that included a town hall-style "listening session," and break-out strategy sessions focussing on making connections to link and benefit both northern and southern New Mexico, and to foster film and digital media opportunities and educational strategies...
More at: Southern New Mexico ready for a bigger slice of movie-making pie