The cameras keep rolling and New Mexico’s film coffers are benefiting.
In 2003 film revenue was $80 million, an increase of 1,000% from the previous year’s $8 million. This year promises additional activity, with an anticipated slate of 14 film and TV pics.
Paramount’s remake of “The Longest Yard” is a significant part of that production calendar, announced New Mexico Gov. Bill Richardson.
“Once again, our incentives, our qualified workforce and the beauty and culture of New Mexico have beat out formidable competition. This movie won’t be shot in another state, or in Canada or in Europe — it will be shot right here.”
According to economic development secretary Rick Homans, the film was won and lost several times as Hawaii and Illinois also vied for the production. A team effort by several state departments and a promotional trip last fall by the governor touting the state’s advantages to Hollywood studio heads, including Paramount chair-CEO Sherry Lansing, garnered New Mexico serious consideration.
Pic will spend approximately eight weeks in pre-production — Par will add a new facade to Old Main, the old state penitentiary in Santa Fe — and an additional four to five weeks filming.
“We looked at prison locations across the country. We are delighted to have chosen New Mexico, not only for artistic reasons but also for the important financial incentives offered by the state. Together they created a winning package,” said line producer Barry Bernardi.
New Mexico offers film productions a 15% gross-receipts rebate of the total budget and no-fee location shooting at any state site. The state also plans to assist indie productions, with no-interest loans of up to $7.5 million for qualifying films.
“The Longest Yard” will be helmed by Pete Segal (“50 First Dates”). Adam Sandler, Chris Rock and Burt Reynolds star.
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Oregon plans to get Hollywood’s attention with a new film office in L.A.
“Even with our close proximity to Los Angeles, we felt it would be very helpful to the industry for us to have someone on the ground in the L.A. area and immediately accessible to the industry,” said Veronica Rinard, exec director of the Oregon Film and Video Office.
The L.A. operation will be headed by Kayla Thames, a locations manager for several years on features and TV productions, as well as a past production specialist at the California Film Commission.
Thames contends that Oregon is in an ideal position to compete with major international locations, including Canada and New Zealand.
“Oregon offers outstanding locations that can match them look for look, with no customs agents to deal with. And the skilled crew base has that solid work ethic filmmakers expect,” she said.
In addition, Oregon boasts a supportive business community and a new incentive program. Through the Oregon Production Investment Fund, certain film costs incurred after Jan. 1, 2005, by qualified production companies will be eligible for cash rebates of 10%.
Thames may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or (323) 656-0889.