New Mexico to build a $40m film, TV and media academy with sound stages

New Mexico Film Partners, Netflix and NBCUniversal will contribute financially and offer paid apprenticeships for students. 

By Melissa Kasule 11 Mar 2022

New Mexico to build a $40m film, TV and media academy with sound stages
Only The Brave filming in New Mexico. Credit: Courtesy of Richard Foreman Jr./LIONSGATE

New Mexico's governor Michelle Lujan Grisham has allocated $40m in funding for the development of the Next Generation Media Academy (NGMA) in Albuquerque, which will train New Mexicans to work in the film and TV industry. 

According to the New Mexico Film Office, the governor signed it into law as part of House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 212 on 9 March. 

The total funds include $20m in capital outlay funding and $20m in general funding to construct and operate the facility. The funds are expected to also cover equipment and material costs. 

Located in Bernalillo County, the academy will comprise of sound stages, equipment, technology, and materials, where production methods can be put into practice. A proposed satellite campus in Las Cruces is also in development, with plans to offer bilingual training programs

Once completed NGMA aims to admit 1,000 students per year. In addition, existing New Mexico Film Partners, Netflix and NBCUniversal, and future film partners will contribute financially to the academy and offer paid apprenticeships for students. The labour union, IATSE Local 480, will also allow NGMA students to accrue days toward union membership.

NGMA will partner with 15 of New Mexico’s already established higher education institutions, also known as the Consortium Education Partners statewide by creating a core curriculum that meets industry standards.

“The Next Generation Media Academy elevates New Mexico as a global leader in the film and digital media industry, providing a highly competent, set-ready, relevant workforce in every corner of the state equipped with an array of skills, both traditional and emergent,” said Amber Dodson, director, New Mexico Film Office. “The NGMA is a game changing initiative centered on collaborative partnerships between 15 film and digital media higher education institutions statewide, as well as Netflix, NBCUniversal, IATSE Local 480, and the Department of Higher Education.”

“New Mexico’s film industry is thriving, with a record $626.5m in revenue generated in fiscal year 2021 alone,” said governor Lujan Grisham. “We’re committed to providing everyone in our state with a path to success in this exciting industry, and our media academy will provide those opportunities, growing the industry and employing more New Mexicans.”

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