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Lights, Camera, Action: New Mexico’s Film Industry’s Starring Role

Film and digital media production finds a location in New Mexico

By Bill Lewis on May 7, 2019

New Mexico
New Mexico / Photo by Nathan Lambrecht

New Mexico has emerged as a center of film and digital media production. Direct spending from film production done in the state totaled more than $750 million over the past two years.

And that figure is sure to grow thanks to Netflix, which chose Albuquerque as the site of a new U.S. production hub. The streaming service and content producer acquired ABQ Studios, where it will produce film and television series as well as at locations around the state. Netflix plans to bring $1 billion in production to New Mexico over the next 10 years, creating up to 1,000 jobs.  

New Mexico
New Mexico / Photo by Nathan Lambrecht

New Mexico has served as a location for a string of major motion picture and television productions including The Avengers, No Country for Old Men and Breaking Bad. The Netflix apocalypse dramedy Daybreak, supernatural drama Chambers and suspenseful drama Messiah have created jobs for 700 New Mexican crew members alone.

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New Mexico offers one of the most competitive incentives package in the industry, which includes a 25 or 30 percent Refundable Film Production Tax Credit and the Film Crew Advancement Program.

The state is also drawing investment from digital media companies, as well. Ganymede Games, a company formed by video game veterans Jerry Prochazka and Lynn Stetson, selected Las Cruces as its headquarters in early 2019.

New Mexico
New Mexico / Photo by Nathan Lambrecht

Las Cruces’ international reach – it is about an hour from El Paso and the U.S.-Mexico border – expanded the talent funnel for Ganymede. Las Cruces is home New Mexico State University and Doña Ana Community College, and the company also expects to recruit at New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, about two hours north of Las Cruces.

“We left the high cost, noise and density of high-tech cities when we discovered Las Cruces, which is affordable, offers a higher quality of life, and now we have plenty of wilderness to explore both in-game and out-of-game,†Prochazka says. “The affordability allows us to maximize value to our investors with an experienced, world-class team.”

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