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Santa Fe to open new film commission

Authorities in Santa Fe, north-east of Albuquerque in New Mexico, have agreed to open the city’s first film commission.

The commission will begin with a relatively small $50,000 operating budget and the mayor will appoint its members and chair. 

“Santa Fe has taken its first step toward building a film economy,” said Santa Fe mayor Javier Gonzales in comments to local news outlet the Albuquerque Journal. “When you think about Santa Fe’s creative DNA, it’s a hand-and-glove fit with Hollywood.

“Upgraded fibre optics gives businesses the chance to get in on the post-production side. If a film is being shot in London and the post production is being done in Santa Fe, we can handle it now. The airport is critical as people travel from here to Los Angeles.”  

New Mexico’s state-wide filming incentive programme makes it the top US location for desert settings and the state regularly doubles for Afghanistan, Iraq and North Africa. 

Production is generally based in and around Albuquerque, but Santa Fe Studios recently announced expansion plans and last year hosted a remake of The Magnificent Seven.

California’s boosted film tax credit programme increases Los Angeles’ production appeal and could challenge New Mexico’s dominance in the long-term. 

Movie ranches north of Los Angeles in Santa Clarita have shown they are effective doubles for Middle Eastern war zones in the likes of Clint Eastwood’s hit biopic American Sniper. But California’s tax credit is still geared mainly towards TV – New Mexico will continue to have the upper hand in terms of its appeal for big-budget features.  

For more on filming in New Mexico see our production guide.