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In This Issue
Production Report
Local Outreach
NM Film History
Workforce Training
Quick Links
 November 2012
monthly newsletter
For previous newsletters click here.
Production Report
A Quick Update
Five majors recently wrapped:  "American Girl," "50 to 1," "Lone Survivor," "The Lone Ranger," and "We're the Millers." Two more productions will finish in December and another two will start up.  Look for additional production announcements in January.
The sixty-day legislative session starts up this January.
Reminder:  no matter your budget size, the NMFO can assist you with understanding the tax credit.  Incentive questions?  Contact Tobi Ives
Local Outreach
For New Mexico Filmmakers:
The final screening of the 2012 New Mexico Filmmakers Showcase  winning films will take place on December 12, at the Santa Fe University of Art and Design in the Forum Auditorium at 5 PM. The screening is free and open to the public. Seat availability is  first-come first-served basis. Click here for more details. 
The NM Filmmakers Showcase has been traveling throughout the state. The nine (9) winning films have been screened in Portales, Grants,Taos, and Las Cruces. For more details, visit our Facebook events page.
Recent guests on our radio show "New Mexico Film Works" have included two Santa Fe Film Festival board members (and film makers), Anna Darrah and Ayesah Kahn (this weekend); writers and directors of "Blaze You Out," Mateo Frazier and Diego Joaquin Lopez; documentary film makers Melinda Hess and Patricia Antelles; and, film animator Brian Young. Listen to the podcast of these shows and others at  "New Mexico Film Works." 

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New Mexico Film History
The Advent of the Silent Cinema in the Land of Enchantment


In the mid to late 1800s, film companies fueled by competition for content and to make the world smaller for their customers, sent camera crews across the country and around the globe to produce documentary-type films of every nature. One of them was Indian Day School produced by the Edison Company in 1897 at Isleta Pueblo. In search of new material for a new series called Indians of North America for their Kinetoscope parlors, Edison, sent cameraman Frederick W. Blechynden and James White, manager of Edison's Kinetograph department, on a location trek that would take them to New Mexico, Colorado, California, Wyoming, Mexico, Hawaii, and Asia.


In either late October or late November, they stopped at Isleta Pueblo just south of Albuquerque, where they captured a fleeting, floating moment in time that will forever link the future of filmmaking in the Land of Enchantment.


The excitement of this new entertainment medium filled the penny arcades and later nickelodeons with customers curious about life outside the confines of their world, and here it was the world at their fingertips for only a penny or a nickel. Eventually, National Geographesque images, and how things were made, processed, and distributed lost their allure and studios were forced into creating a new form of entertainment that became the narrative film. This opened the door for new jobs that would become the nucleus of a studio; writers, script supervisors, directors, producers, camera operators, gaffers, grips, painters, set designers, carpenters, art directors, engineers, machinists, wardrobe designers, hair dressers, makeup artists, assistant this and assistant that, and on and on.


Penny Arcades morphed into Nickelodeons then into movie houses that became movie palaces, and audiences became an integral element of the story flickering across the screen. Then film critics came along to keep the studios honest, which created movie magazines to bring us closer to our favorite actors.


Between 1891 and 1913, New Jersey, New York, Chicago, and Philadelphia were the centers of the nascent film industry, and by 1919, California was fast becoming the motion picture center of the world. To help facilitate film companies on their trips between coasts, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe and other railway lines, set aside special cars for the cast and crew, camera equipment, sets and props, wardrobe storage, processing labs, and the like. In some cases, notably with the Edison Company and Biograph, the AT&SF bartered their services in exchange for publicizing the filmmaker's journey through the railroad's southwestern routes.


In 1903, Edwin S. Porter's The Great Train Robbery changed the way filmmakers would tell stories and how they would produce films. Porter took silent film out of the studio to tell a western tale that held movies audiences breathless. No longer confined to the limitations of interior sets, the viewer became mesmerized with organic landscapes, new camera angles and perspectives, and lots of action. The film was 10 minutes long and it had 14-scenes. Its popularity with movie audiences prompted knock-offs by other studios, some who copied it scene-by-scene, ad infinitum. By 1908, audiences bored with the Western turned to other genres. Some things just don't change.


The standard length of a film was 1-reel (1000') a blockbuster ran for 5 reels or more; movies were called Photoplays, and actors and directors were Photoplayers. In 1910, Carl Laemmle founder of the Independent Motion Picture Company (IMP) was the first studio chief to give credit in a film to an actor. In this case, it was Florence Lawrence - the first movie star. Before that motion pictures were marketed by genre sans credits. But it wouldn't take long before the dynamic changed and the names of actors, directors and crew were acknowledgement in the credit list for their talent and craft.


It's only fitting that the first known recorded film was made at a pueblo on a sunny day with children walking to and from their adobe schoolhouse smiling and waving all the way, best described in the Edison film catalog as "The look of wonderment on their little faces." The wonderment, of course, was Edison's Kinetograph movie camera. Other film companies made documentaries around New Mexico in those early years but they would pale in comparison to the next wave of filmmaking that would visit the Land of Enchantment, in 1911, 1912, 1913, and 1915. Those stories to come . . .


Interested in New Mexico Film History? Send questions to John Raymond Armijo.

Workforce Training

FCAP Reminder


On-the-job training opportunities are available to resident below-the-line crew professionals through the Film Crew Advancement Program (FCAP), a sub-program of the Job Training Incentive Program (JTIP) for Film & Multimedia. If you are crew member looking to increase your hirability by moving up in your craft department or changing departments, this may be for you. And as a produciton company, it's a financial incentive particularly, if your budget is between $200k and $2m. 


Not only does this program incentivize production companies to create more job opportunities for New Mexicans, the company will receive a 50% reimbursement of qualifying participants' wages for up to 1040 hours physically worked in approved below-the-line positions. (This is in addition to the Film Production Tax Credit.)  


FCAP is used as a negotiating tool for the potential participant and/or mentor during the hiring process; and, after being in the FCAP program, the participant potentially comes away with two or three film or television credits in a position to be hired on their own merit.


The NMFO has had great success with the Film Crew Advancement Program (FCAP). Since 2004, over ninety (90) production companies have participated with over eleven hundred (1100) New Mexico crew members.  


Did you know? JTIP was actually created by the New Mexico State Legislature in 1972. JTIP for Film & Multimedia was established in 2004.


For more information and guidelines on the FCAP program contact Rochelle Bussey, Sr. Manager of Workforce Development Programs. at 505-476-5604 or

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