A filmmaker's paradise: The state of moviemaking in New Mexico

28 Mar 2018

When it comes to a homegrown base of film crew technicians, sound stages, a variety of locations, good weather, and proximity to Los Angeles, you just can’t beat New Mexico. The training and facilities are here, and the people who work in the industry are committed to seeing it succeed. And it seems to have done just that, despite continuing blowback in the state legislature from Republicans.

Back in March 2011, in her first year in office, Gov. Susana Martinez panicked the film industry when the state imposed a $50 million cap on the 25 percent refundable tax credit for movies made in New Mexico. A noticeable lapse in film production followed. Some film technicians and those who worked in other production positions the industry refers to as “below the line” — grips, editors, line producers, camera operators, and art directors — left the state to seek work in other locales that also have strong film programs, such as Louisiana, North Carolina, and Virginia.

The governor, who originally considered the industry a strain on New Mexico’s economy, has since changed her political tune on the matter. “New Mexico has so much to offer to those who are in the business of searching for the right place to shoot a movie or television program, and our communities clearly benefit from these opportunities,” she said in 2014, after a state-ordered study concluded the industry was good for New Mexico’s economy. 

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