New Mexico's involvement with the film industry is truly something to behold; turns out our picturesque landscapes and colorful scenery make quite the set piece. Have a behind-the-scenes look this weekend at El Rancho de las Golondrinas (334 Los Pinos, Santa Fe), where films like Young Guns, the Bollywood flick Kites and even scenes in MacGruber (of "SNL" fame) found their locations at the living history museum. The two-hour tours take place at 10 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday through Sunday. Tickets can be had for $20, or $10 for ages 13 to 17. To snag your seat, call (505) 471-2261 or visit golondrinas.org.
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The Hoot Smalley Report #2: Where have all the film jobs gone?
Coffee, three eggs over-medium and bacon; hangover recovery process is in full swing. Question: Where have all the film jobs gone? Answer: Michigan, Louisiana, Georgia, Iowa; and then, if we’re lucky, New Mexico.
Has it always been this way? Actually, no. Used to be outside of New York and L.A. the jobs were in Louisiana, Connecticut and New Mexico, and in that order too. No lie, I kid you not.
Is there light at this abysmally dark tunnel? Actually, yes. Iowa recently made the news when their Governor, Chet Culver, recently nixed the film incentive program there. Bringing New Mexico up to fourth outside of New York and L.A., A bitter sweet victory for us considering we used to be third and it took a whole lot of bungling and corruption by the Iowa Film Office (which is currently under investigation) to pull us out of fifth place.
How do I know this? Well, I called Chet Culver’s office and spoke with a very nice lady who sadly confirmed that their film office is under investigation and that the Iowa Film incentive program is temporarily suspended. Unfortunately she could not define how long temporarily meant. Bad news for them, good news for us; sadly, I feel for them. The Hollywood Machine is a daunting business for anyone to comprehend let alone deal with effectively.
Any other good news out there? Again the answer is yes. Michigan is looking at reducing their incentive program from a 42 percent refund to an undisclosed amount. A big deal considering in 2008 they had 28 films shot there, one of those films being Clint Eastwood’s Gran Torino. Hella good movie by the way.
But who is the dark that is not making the news and why? Georgia is going strong and offering a combined 30 percent state income tax credit and also offering a pass on sales tax that saves the productions that go there up to 8 percent in addition.
Is Georgia truly that competitive with New Mexico? Sadly, yes. One of the biggest movies that is coming here is spreading its locations around and looks to only be here for a couple of weeks before packing up and heading off to Georgia for the remainder and the majority of its shooting schedule.
Is this good or bad? Answer, hard to say. If the production decides to keep the majority of its crew that it hires here and take them all to Georgia this could be great. If not, our boys and girls who so hard to do what they do will have to fend for themselves until they get another job. Thankfully, more than one movie is expected to head our way because of the fallout from Iowa.
So what is our overall prognosis as a state? Not so great but we’re getting better.
Reporting from the Sunshine Café, this is Hoot Smalley. See you all at the Marble Brewery; they open at 3 pm on the weekdays.
The Hoot Smalley Report #1: Mayor Berry
Hoot Smalley here, and I am just an average Joe with a favorable opinion in regards to the filming in New Mexico. So, as we all know or should know by now Richard J. Berry won the Mayoral race in ABQ last night. When I first heard the news, I cringed. Then I proceeded to drink. Then I crashed at a friend’s house and woke up to rain drops slamming against her roof.
I faked sleeping until the rain stopped and left to go get a cup of Joe at my favorite neighborhood coffee shop. My neighborhood incidentally ended up experiencing yet another drug raid. We don’t know what that neighbor of ours is doing in his back yard (we suspect he is cooking meth), but this is the second raid in two weeks. Alas, I digress.
So, I get to the coffee shop and I find myself cringing yet again. The morning paper, The Albuquerque Journal, has confirmed that Berry has won.. This is just what I needed to see as I begin my hangover recovery process, which is a cup of coffee, three eggs over medium and bacon. I begin reading the article in depth and quickly kill the coffee supply that is available, and I begin to ask myself who is this guy Berry.
I’m no slouch when it comes to knowing who is who on the political scene, but when I think back to when the mayoral race began, I can’t really place where Berry came from. All I knew or really ever known about the guy is that he is a Republican, who somehow became a State Representative in 07. At this point I decide to do research and quickly find that he is a relative newcomer in terms of politics and surprisingly he voted for a bill that initially looked to be quite promising: HB 634 Filmmakers Production Fund.
This bill would have allowed the state to invest up to $5 million in productions and as it reads would not have negatively impacted the incentive program that we currently have for the big time productions. It looks as though the bill ultimately died and was never signed into law, but I find that the existence of a bill that could have been favorable to the Independent Film Industry (had it been worded better) on Berry’s voting record is promising. The bill, by the way, was sponsored by Rep. Ben Lujan Sr.
So perhaps my day will be all the sunshine and rainbows that it promises to be now that the rain has stopped. And, if he can make meth-house on my block disappear that would be great!