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In This Issue
Production Report
Local Outreach
NM Film History
Quick Links
 AUGUST 2012

Welcome to the first edition of the New Mexico State Film Office's e-newsletter.  Each month we will focus on four topics: Production, Outreach, History and Locations.  We plan to include interviews and a Q&A-of-the-month as this e-newsletter evolves.  Our audience is broad and our goal is to have all its members discover something of interest. 

Help us name this newsletter! Email Dirk Norris with your suggestion.  The winner will be announced next month.


Production Report

A Brief Review of the Year
Although we began the last fiscal year (July 2011) with revisions to our film incentive program, New Mexico ended up with several fantastic projects.  In addition to independants, shorts, documentaries, commercials and post-productions, there were 14 major feature film and television projects that shot in our state in fiscal year 2012: Odd Thomas, May-July 2011; Just Like A Woman, July 2011; Blaze You Out, September 2011;The Tin Star, November 2011; The Last Stand, October 2011-January 2012; Stars, November 2011; Jackie, December 2011; In Plain Sight S5, January - March 2012; Code Name: Geronimo, February 2012; Longmire S1, March - June 2012; The Lone Ranger, March - August 2012; Breaking Bad S5, April - June 2012; The Host, April 2012; and,Vegas, April 2012.  Visit our Filmography for a complete film history (on our new website!)  Details about the New Mexico 25% Refundable Film Production Tax Credit are available online.


There have been concerns voiced from local industry professionals that regulations for the production incentive have not been written.   Regulations are written to clarify language and cannot amend or change the law; and, regulations must be carefully drafted as they can be hard to undo once established. In addition to regulations, there were additional tax obligations that needed to be reviewed. Many productions have submitted their tax credit information in order to receive their approved claim amount and many have then filed their state income tax return; therefore, issues that had (and had not) been predicted have been able to be addressed.  Good news is the regulations have been drafted. Public comment on the drafted regulations will be requested by the NM Tax & Revenue Department once the internal approval process has taken place. The New Mexico Film Office asked to help facilitate the distribution of this announcement to the local industry. Stay tuned.


In a recent meeting, major studios concurred when a Disney executive thanked our NM Tax & Revenue Deparment (TRD) for being the most accessible TRD department of all the film incentive states.  This really makes a difference to the Film Office's recruitment efforts and keeps us competitive as we work through the kinks.


Looking forward, we have had several scouts on the ground. Many projects are interested in starting production in the spring - none of which have given us permission to announce them anytime soon. To see what major projects have announced filming, visit our In Production webpage. We also have a couple pending announcements that should be posted shortly.

Local Outreach
For New Mexico Filmmakers:
The NMFilmmakers Showcase is back! You still have time to submit your film. It is free to enter and free to attend. The deadline for entry 5PM sharp on September 14. Get the entry form here. The films will be screened at the Guild Cinema in Albuquerque on October 12-14. Come meet the filmmakers on Oct.12 at the Laru Ni Hati Café, located at 3413 Central Ave. NE in Albuquerque (just down the street from the Guild.)


The Film Office's radio show "New Mexico Film Works!" on Talk 1260 (AM) KTRC is broadcast every week. Film industry folks from around the state are guests. Missed a show? Find a podcast here.  


The White Sands International Film Festival was in Las Cruces this past weekend. It was a great event with wonderful films and it was encouraging to see the tremendous support for New Mexico filmmakers. Among those accepted were "Made in New Mexico" by Brent Morris; "Zipper," a Roswell Sci-Fi festival winner; "Young Ancestors," by Aimee Broustra; "20 Ways" a New Visions winner by Peter Kershaw; and, "The Harp" winner of Best Student Film. Congratulations to all and for a festival that will demand the attention of filmmakers worldwide. 


Reminder: the NM Film Office is holding a summit for all the colleges and universities in the state that have film and media programs. Educators and students are coming together at the National Hispanic Cultural Center on September the 7th. Call Dirk at 505.476.5671 for details.


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New Mexico Film History
The Birth of the New Mexico State Film Office

In 1967, several film aficionados met with then Governor Dave Cargo, and presented him with a plan to make filmmaking a viable alternative to other types of economic development. The idea was the brain child of Chuck Mittlestadt, a freelance writer and stringer for the Hollywood Reporter.


The New Mexico Film Commission was established in 1968 under the administration of Governor David Cargo. It was the first state funded agency of its kind in the nation which was created to promote location filming outside of Hollywood.


The original committee members of the NM Film Commission were:


Lou Gasparini (Chairman), Chuck Mittlestadt*(Vice-Chairman), Jack Schaefer (writer), Ralph Looney (editor), Dick Skrondahl*(photographer), Max Evans* (writer), Don Hamilton (writer), Charles LeMaire (costume designer**), Jerry Danzinger (KOB TV), Stretch Scherer (KGGM TV), Max Sklower* (KOAT)


*Surviving members of the original commission.

** Chuck LeMaire won 3 Oscars for Costume Design (Love Is a Many Splendored-Thing, 1955, The Robe, 1953, The President's Lady, 1953.


The New Mexico Film Office (no longer called a commission) was also the first state agency in the country to offer a rebate and film loan incentive.  Lousiana may contest this statement; but both states would most likely agree that the idea was inspired by Canada.
Seven Deadly Sins of Aspiring Filmmakers 


Is the project that you want to make, or have even started to make, well beyond your means or capabilities? To avoid costs and complications, the project creation must be practical - use what you have at your fingertips. Write your story to your assets. If you own a cabin in the woods, write a story about it. Big productions can afford to overreach, but little ones cannot. Remember, when you do not have lots of money, you have to be smarter to make things work. Also, keep location needs simple but push for enriching the storyline. If you have multiple locations, it's going to be expensive and complicated.


No Budget

Inexperienced filmmakers frequently make the mistake of thinking that locations cost little or nothing. Many small (and large) productions will try to cut corners by requesting to film in a bar claiming the bar will get great exposure when the film "hits it big." Reality check: most projects, even big studio pictures, are not as successful as they had wanted. Filming is invasive, so make sure owners and proprietors are well taken care of while you're filming. When you are filming in that bar and you need an extra to be the bartender, offer the actual bartender the role. Offer realistic assets and always come bearing something to make sure the location owners get something out of it. Locations will always cost something!

   No Time

This is a really big issue, as big as financing. As a small-budget filmmaker, you know you must plan ahead. Way ahead. Money and time can operate interchangeably. Big productions have more money, so if they need to film in a prison in three days, they can muscle their way through with cash. You do not have that luxury, so plan ahead and get the ball rolling on locations early to avoid high costs. If you find yourself in a position with no money and no time, you are in serious trouble. 

No Permits

Jump through the appropriate hoops to get the proper permits. It takes time but permits are there for a reason: they protect people and costs are nominal if anything. Filmmaking can be dangerous and cutting corners with permits will not help anybody if something goes wrong. Take the time to learn the safety perimeters to make sure your cast and crew, as well as the location itself, are not harmed. Also, you might be approached by an official during shooting, and if you do not have the paperwork you need, not only could you be fined, you hurt the reputation of the local industry. Get the correct permits to avoid a host of possible problems.


No Contracts  Everyone you are working with must understand exactly what is going on. You cannot have any surprises for your cast, crew, or location owners. This is another thing that takes time and planning ahead, but you must do it. If you have to paint a wall, make agreements about which wall gets painted when it gets painted back and specify the color. Remember, you do not own these locations. Be sure you leave it in satisfactory condition when you are done and per a location agreement. Make sure things are fair and legal by preparing the appropriate contracts.


No Insurance 

On top of permits and contracts, you have to protect yourself with insurance. Filmmaking can be a very dangerous endeavor even under the best and innocuous situations - having insurance protects you. You do not have the money to go toe-to-toe with someone if you have screwed up and did not have proper insurance. Yes, this costs time and money again, but it will save you from later headaches.


No Logistics 

You find yourself on location setting up for the shoot. Cast and crew are trickling in. Have you set up where they are going to park? Have you prepared food for them? Shelter from the sun? Toilets? Take care of these things early, as they are big issues that can sneak up on you. You will need to take care of traffic, pedestrians, etc. Make sure you have contacted local officials to make sure everything goes smoothly and the police can keep everyone safe (and out of your way). Solve these problems before going in, as extra time taken to attend to them is time taken away from you actually making your film. And don't forget your back up plan for schedule changes, weather and other unforeseen issues.

We are really excited about our new website launched earlier this month.  Questions? Comments? Email: info@nmfilm.com.  

This email was sent to dirk@nmfilm.com by info@nmfilm.com |  
New Mexico Film Office | 1100 St. Francis Drive | 1st Floor, Suite 1213 | Santa Fe | NM | 87505