Every year some state legislator from outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area proposes some bill to end the tax rebate program that’s fueling the film industry here in Albuquerque. You can’t really blame them. Few films are shot outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe area. As a result, few of our smaller communities see much tangible economic impact. Nonetheless, every year, the proposal gets shot down.
This year, however, members of the film and television community in New Mexico are running scared. There’s a justifiable perception that Gov. Martinez wants to eliminate or at least reduce the tax rebate given to film companies. She’s happy to continue subsidizing oil companies, of course. But not movie companies. Argue all you want about the total economic impact of the film industry in our state. If subsidies are reduced by even 1 percent, every last Hollywood production will flee the state. That will decimate the industry here in New Mexico, and all those well-trained film professionals the state has been crowing about will leave. I can only hope that N.M.’s up-and-coming indie writers, directors and producers would seize the opportunity, step into the gap and start making more homegrown product. But make no mistake: The economic impact of a Hollywood exodus would be swift and large.
Every year, the local film industry unions organize the Film and Media Day in Santa Fe to remind lawmakers how many people are employed in the industry. This one promises to be the largest ever. It will take place Wednesday, Feb. 16, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. on the corner of Paseo de Peralta and Old Santa Fe Trail in the City Different. Industry professionals will be there lobbying politicians in the Roundhouse. Those who have been employed by the film industry are encouraged to attend and show their support.
Even if you’re not yet a part of the local film industry, there will be plenty for you to do. Those interested in film careers can take in demonstrations in a number of fields. Katie Douthit (Thor, Comanche Moon) will give a hair and makeup demonstrations. Legendary stunt coordinator Al Goto (“Breaking Bad,” “In Plain Sight”) will host a live stunt demonstration. Lora Cunningham (“Nip/Tuck,” Book Of Eli) will conduct acting classes. Costume designers Aleah Ames, Paul Trujillo, Claire Sandrin, Debra Chapman and Kate Czark will show off some of the wardrobe from movies shot in New Mexico. There will also be demonstrations on special effects, editing systems and background-extra etiquette.
Best of all, local casting directors will hold a day-long meet-and-greet for aspiring actors. Jo Edna Boldin, Kathryn Brink, Angelique Midthunder and Kiira Arai (who, collectively, have cast just about every movie and TV show in town) will meet anyone interested in acting and extra roles. Representatives from the talent agencies A&M, O’Agency, Applause and Maja will be on hand to meet with potential clients. A representative from the Screen Actors Guild will be present to answer questions about union membership. All willing participants will have their photos taken and distributed to casting directors, making this the largest casting event to hit New Mexico.
To learn more about the when, where, why and who of Film and Media Day 2011, log on to filmandmediaday.blogspot.com.