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Documentary highlights film industry’s impact in New Mexico

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Made in New MexicoMore on Made in New Mexico Doc…

Documentary highlights film industry’s impact in New Mexico
Video snippets of the film, which is about 51 minutes long, are available to view at the Facebook page for the project.


Video snippets of the film, which is about 51 minutes long, are available to view at the Facebook page for the project.

Megan Kamerick, NMBW Senior Reporter

A new documentary on the New Mexico film industry will premier Feb. 1 as part of media day at the state Legislature. It will be followed by screenings around the state, including Feb. 9 in Albuquerque at the KiMo Theatre, which will include short films by filmmakers who are featured in the documentary.

Filmmakers Brent Morris and David Jean Schweitzer created “Made in New Mexico” to highlight the players in the industry in New Mexico, and to highlight the economic impact of the film and media industry in the state. Morris moved to New Mexico from Los Angeles around 2002, when he and his wife decided to look for another place to live where there also was film production taking place.

“I had the good fortune to meet good people and start working in the industry,” said Morris, who lives in Albuquerque. “I fell in love with the landscape and the crews and then the incentives battle started heating up in earnest, so I thought it would be interesting to do a film on the industry here.”

He and Schweitzer have been working on the project off and on for about two years. The documentary includes footage of the raucous debate on the incentives that took place in Albuquerque last year. It explores the industry’s economic impact and its impact on the state’s educational institutions, many of which have implemented film training programs. It also features producers and filmmakers, owners of studio facilities in New Mexico, Native American filmmakers, state officials, students and business owners who work directly or indirectly with the business, such as Aquila Travel and Heritage Hotels and Resorts.

Video snippets of the film, which is about 51 minutes long, are available to view at the Facebook page for the project.

Among those interviewed are Stewart Lyons, producer on “Breaking Bad”; Tony Mark, producer of “The Hurt Locker”; Rick Clemente, CEO of I-25 Studios; Jason Hool, one of the owners of Santa Fe Studios; and Wayne Rauschenberger, chief of operations at Albuquerque Studios.

This year’s legislative session is shaping up to be far less contentious about the state’s film incentives, which include a 25 percent rebate on qualified New Mexico expenditures, although Rep. Dennis Kintigh, R-Roswell, has introduced legislation to kill the program, something he has done every year for the past several years, and a group of Democratic lawmakers are trying to do away with the $50 million annual cap on the incentives, which was the result of last year’s legislative battles.

Members of Gov. Susana Martinez’s administration told an industry group last fall that the governor would not seek any changes in the incentive program this year, and would veto legislation that tried to cut or curtail the incentives.

“My feeling is if we can create the right conditions here to keep outside films coming, it certainly enhances the local production scene because we can work and do other work on the side and create our own projects in the state,” Morris said. “But if the money isn’t here any more from the outside, I think a lot of people will leave.”

Morris said his “bread and butter” is his work as a line producer for feature films with budgets ranging from $1.5 million to $10 million. A supporter of local independent filmmakers, he also has done his own projects here, including a documentary on the National Institute of Flamenco.

“There’s some amazing talent here in Albuquerque,” he said. “The big challenge is to try to monetize those films and distribute them, but that’s always been the challenge.”

The filmmakers raised about $5,700 on Kickstarter to make “Made in New Mexico,” and also found several angel investors, who donated about $1,000.

The film will screen in the following cities:

Feb. 1 at 4 p.m. CCA Cinamatheque in Santa Fe, 1050 Old Pecos Trail
Feb. 8 at 7 p.m. at the Rio Grande Theatre in Las Cruces, 211 N. Downtown Mall
Feb. 9 at 7 p.m. at the KiMo Theatre, with short films by filmmakers who appear in the documentary, 423 Central Ave. NW
Feb. 10 time to be announced at University of New Mexico-Valencia campus, Arts & Sciences Building Room 101
Feb. 12 at 7 p.m. at the Taos Center for the Arts, 133 Paseo del Pueblo
Feb. 13 at 5 p.m. a New Mexico Highlands University Media Arts Building in Las Vegas
Feb. 17 at 7 p.m. at the El Morro Theatre in Gallup, 110 West Aztec Ave.
Feb 24 at 7 p.m. at Eastern New Mexico University in Ruidoso, 709 Mechem Dr.

A Farmington screening is to be announced at a later date.

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