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

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