New Mexico anticipates location filming boost

New Mexico has boosted the funding for its state filming incentive and is to encourage producers to shoot beyond its hubs.

New Mexico has boosted its filming incentive fund and is to encourage producers to shoot beyond its established hubs.

The south-west US state is already a key filming location for screen stories with desert settings, but its appeal is set to grow further now that authorities have more than doubled the incentive’s film fund to $110m a year.

An additional $100m has been made available to secure shoots that may still be a year or more away from principal photography.

“We are already seeing a massive increase in films landing here in New Mexico,” says Shani Orona, a New Mexico-based location manager, in comments to KFTV.

“Our biggest competitor has not been Los Angeles – they do primarily TV now – but Georgia. We now have a much better ability to compete with them. Because we have such close proximity to Los Angeles – [it’s] a two-hour flight so producers and actors can fly home for the weekend.”

Action star and producer Dwayne Johnson has been the latest high-profile visitor to the state, shooting scenes for a follow-up to the hit 2017 family adventure movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The film, directed by Jake Kasdan, shot on Navajo Nation lands in north-west New Mexico, hiring around a hundred local crew.

Television drama shoots can access higher incentive support – a move inspired by the success of the crime drama Breaking Bad, which was set and filmed in and around Albuquerque and helped put New Mexico on the production map from its launch in 2008.

New Mexico anticipates location filming boost
The Kid
The Kid

Indeed, prequel series Better Call Saul has since returned to the city and a fifth season started shooting in Albuquerque in early April.

While incentive support is a key appeal for New Mexico, the availability of studio facilities and standing sets also helps attract producers.

Vincent D’Onofrio’s western film The Kid, released recently in the US, used standing western sets at four ‘movie ranches’ in the state and also shot at the ‘living museum’ El Rancho de Los Golondrinas outside Santa Fe in the north.

Shani Orona was location manager for the movie that follows Sheriff Pat Garrett and his efforts to chase down outlaw Billy the Kid in the early 1880s.

“Filming at a living history museum was a challenge,” Orona tells KFTV.

“We needed to move priceless, historic artefacts out of various buildings, not damage any structure with as much as a pinprick and make historically accurate and appropriate repairs to 350-year-old adobe [mudbrick] buildings.”

New Mexico is also set to get a long-term boost from Netflix, which has established a production hub at Albuquerque Studios, a facility that offers nine stages and has hosted movies such as X-Men spinoff Logan and the sci-fi sequel Independence Day: Resurgence.

Netflix already has a long history of shooting in the state – with recent productions including western drama Godless and supernatural horror series Chambers – and has now pledged to bring a billion dollars to the state over the next ten years.

The streaming platform is likely to play a major role in the coming years in helping to shape New Mexico as an alternative movie location to California and Georgia.

Main page image: FreeImages.com/Jaime Cavazos. Article images: Lionsgate

New Mexico anticipates location filming boost
The Kid

New Mexico has boosted its filming incentive fund and is to encourage producers to shoot beyond its established hubs.

The south-west US state is already a key filming location for screen stories with desert settings, but its appeal is set to grow further now that authorities have more than doubled the incentive’s film fund to $110m a year.

An additional $100m has been made available to secure shoots that may still be a year or more away from principal photography.

“We are already seeing a massive increase in films landing here in New Mexico,” says Shani Orona, a New Mexico-based location manager, in comments to KFTV.

“Our biggest competitor has not been Los Angeles – they do primarily TV now – but Georgia. We now have a much better ability to compete with them. Because we have such close proximity to Los Angeles – [it’s] a two-hour flight so producers and actors can fly home for the weekend.”

Action star and producer Dwayne Johnson has been the latest high-profile visitor to the state, shooting scenes for a follow-up to the hit 2017 family adventure movie Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle. The film, directed by Jake Kasdan, shot on Navajo Nation lands in north-west New Mexico, hiring around a hundred local crew.

Television drama shoots can access higher incentive support – a move inspired by the success of the crime drama Breaking Bad, which was set and filmed in and around Albuquerque and helped put New Mexico on the production map from its launch in 2008.

The Kid

Indeed, prequel series Better Call Saul has since returned to the city and a fifth season started shooting in Albuquerque in early April.

While incentive support is a key appeal for New Mexico, the availability of studio facilities and standing sets also helps attract producers.

Vincent D’Onofrio’s western film The Kid, released recently in the US, used standing western sets at four ‘movie ranches’ in the state and also shot at the ‘living museum’ El Rancho de Los Golondrinas outside Santa Fe in the north.

Shani Orona was location manager for the movie that follows Sheriff Pat Garrett and his efforts to chase down outlaw Billy the Kid in the early 1880s.

“Filming at a living history museum was a challenge,” Orona tells KFTV.

“We needed to move priceless, historic artefacts out of various buildings, not damage any structure with as much as a pinprick and make historically accurate and appropriate repairs to 350-year-old adobe [mudbrick] buildings.”

New Mexico is also set to get a long-term boost from Netflix, which has established a production hub at Albuquerque Studios, a facility that offers nine stages and has hosted movies such as X-Men spinoff Logan and the sci-fi sequel Independence Day: Resurgence.

Netflix already has a long history of shooting in the state – with recent productions including western drama Godless and supernatural horror series Chambers – and has now pledged to bring a billion dollars to the state over the next ten years.

The streaming platform is likely to play a major role in the coming years in helping to shape New Mexico as an alternative movie location to California and Georgia.

Main page image: FreeImages.com/Jaime Cavazos. Article images: Lionsgate

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