Saturday, November 28, 2009

Santa Fe Studios Update

Today's Santa Fe New Mexican looks at the new Santa Fe Studios and its potential impact on the New Mexico...
Santa Fe Studios betting big on new complex
Julie Ann Grimm | The New Mexican
Posted: Friday, November 27, 2009

The producers of the nuclear holocaust film Terminator Salvation, released earlier this year, originally planned to crash a helicopter into a lake in Budapest. But they decided instead to take advantage of New Mexico's film incentives program and make the science-fiction movie right here in the state, much of it at the 28-acre, two-year-old campus of Albuquerque Studios.

A shallow tank on a few acres of flat desert outside the facility became the crash site, monster machines soared over the Rio Grande Gorge, and John Connor (Christian Bale), a future Resistance soldier, rode a motorcycle across the vast mesa west of the Duke City.

Tax rebates, interest-free loans and free use of some state property are luring filmmakers to New Mexico, creating jobs and new sources of revenue. The fourth feature film in the Terminator series was the biggest picture shot in the state last year and one of 44 major TV and film productions made in New Mexico since January 2008.

Albuquerque Studios also are home to the Emmy Award-winning television series Breaking Bad, now in its third season.

But six of its top-of-the-line sound stages built in 2007 and two smaller studios added later are not all fully booked, according to chief operating officer Nick Smerigan. And now he might be getting some competition from a new film studio complex that is expected to break ground this winter on county-owned land off N.M. 14 south of Santa Fe.

That raises the question about whether there is enough demand for another major studio facility in New Mexico...
More at: Santa Fe Studios betting big on new complex
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Sunday, November 15, 2009

Can DIY Supplant the First Person Shooter?

Good article in Friday's NY Times Magazine section -- and it features Las Cruces area game developer Jason Rohrer.

Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?
By JOSHUAH BEARMAN
Published: November 13, 2009

The face of the enemy flashed across a 20-foot screen. “That’s right,” Jason Rohrer announced. “It’s Roger Ebert.” There were a few boos, as several hundred people stirred in their seats. The film critic’s cherubic face stared at the audience. “Ebert said video games can’t be art,” Rohrer said. “He issued all of us a direct challenge. And we need to find an answer.”

Rohrer was addressing the Game Developers Conference, one of his industry’s premier trade events. Each spring, the conference convenes in San Francisco, and among the tens of thousands of people who attend is a burgeoning fringe of independent designers like Rohrer who hope to radically transform their medium. “A realization is dawning that games can be much more than what they are now,” Rohrer told me later. “They even have the potential to be meaningful in deep, fundamental ways.”

These game designers, a self-described indie scene, form a tightly knit group with a
do-it-yourself culture and a rebellious spirit — something like a ’zine movement
for video games. New and cheap technologies have enabled the movement’s rise.
New tools for production and distribution — through smartphones, over the Web
and via downloadable services on PlayStation, Wii and Xbox consoles — now make
it possible for individuals to conceive, develop and publish their own games.

Rohrer himself is a kind of Thoreauvian game designer, a 31-year-old
back-to-the-land programmer-philosopher who lives in Las Cruces, N.M., where he
codes his eccentrically engrossing games, which can feel like digitally mediated
poetic moods, on an ancient computer and makes them available free online. “Now
anyone can do it,” he says, “which is not how the mainstream video-game industry
works.” ...

The rest of the article is well worth reading... check it out at: Can D.I.Y. Supplant the First-Person Shooter?

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sony Picture Imageworks Update

Nice update on the local Sony Pictures Imageworks group from Dan Mayfield of the Albuquerque Journal:

Making Magic in Town
by Dan Mayfield
Sunday, 1 November
In the summer of 2007, Sony Pictures Imageworks broke ground for a new building at Mesa Del Sol.

It was a big deal. We were promised a new, fancy, state of-the art building with 250 computer animators turning out hit after hit right next door to Albuquerque Studios.

Then the economy tanked. A new building wasn't in the cards after all. But there was one nice building available Downtown, recently empty, and cheap. The digital clocks still say US West, and there are still Qwest signs at 400 Tijeras SW, but everything else is all Imageworks.

Jim Berney, visual effects supervisor and general manager, is proud of the facility, as about 50 employees have been quietly working, making some of the biggest films of the past year.

From "Cloudy With a Chance of Meatballs," which is in theaters now, to the coming "2012" disaster film and next spring's Tim Burton remake of "Alice in Wonderland," they've been busy. Berney has to talk to Burton often to ensure that what the crew here makes is what he wants.

"All of us are digging it," Berney said...
More at Making Magic in Town.