New Mexico’s Artisans Take Advantage of Incentives and Experienced Crews

New Mexico's Artisans Take Advantage of

New Mexico isn’t just a huge draw for high-profile, big-budget studio blockbusters and tentpoles — it’s also home to a busy local creative community of producers, directors, writers and independent filmmakers.

“We’ve had a very good year so far, especially with all the new TV business we’re getting since the new TV incentive kicked in last year,” says producer Chad Burris (pictured).

Burris, who’s made 10 movies and is based in Santa Fe, is shooting “Bare” in Moriarty, near Albuquerque, “an indie drama we’re making for under $1 million on a tight 20-day shoot,” he says.

He stresses that the state has a lot to offer, from great scenery and locations to “very competitive tax breaks and seasoned crews — and even as busy as we are locally, with several big movies and TV series going on right now, we had no trouble crewing up, and we’re hoping to get it done in time for the Sundance festival next year.”

The producer next starts another film, “probably in Moriarty again, as we have a great warehouse and production office set up there,” he says. “And we have all the local infrastructure we need, along with the right locations for the project.”

Former Disney exec Alicia Keyes, now a writer-producer, has been based in Albuquerque since 2008, along with her British husband, Peter Touche, who’s putting together a film fund to make local projects, “mostly in the under-$5 million range,” she says.

Last year, Keyes produced the Lionsgate thriller “Blaze You Out,” made for under $5 million and shot in Espanola, near Santa Fe. She’s in post on her latest project, “Biomass,” a sci-fi horror film directed by Anthony Riazzi, an experienced visual-effects technician, “who’s also overseeing the 300 VFX shots we have,” she says. The film, also in the under-$5 million budget range, was shot in just 25 days at I-25 Studios in Albuquerque.

Keyes’ next film will be slightly more ambitious — “in the $10 million range.” She says local filmmakers “really benefit from the big studio movies that come here for the locations and tax breaks, as we now have these great crews to draw on for our own, smaller projects.”

Based in Las Cruces, in the southwest of the state, filmmaker Dan Williams, who previously shot a one-hour drama, “Close Enough to Perfect,” just finished shooting a 30-minute sitcom pilot he wrote and produced, titled “Roadside Motel,” “about three guys who remodel a run-down old motel,” he says. “We shot 15 scripted pages at a motel the local is remodeling up in Truth or Consequences, and then added some in-character cast interviews, like you see in ‘The Office.’”

Many local projects are also generated by the two local colleges, including the New Mexico State U.’s Creative Media Institute, he says, “and we have a lot of student films.”

The local scene is thriving, says Williams, “although it can always be busier. We have fewer union members down here than up north, and fewer big productions, but great crews and wonderful locations.”

Filed Under:

Want to read more articles like this one? SUBSCRIBE TO VARIETY TODAY.
Post A Comment 0

Leave a Reply

No Comments

Comments are moderated. They may be edited for clarity and reprinting in whole or in part in Variety publications.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s

More Film News from Variety

Loading