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That’s a wrap: Another record year for NM films

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Gov. Susana Martinez announced on Wednesday the third straight record year for the New Mexico film industry inside a sound stage at Albuquerque Studios. Roberto E. Rosales/Albuquerque Journal

The film industry continues to be a bright spot for the New Mexico economy.

For the third year in a row, the industry has broken its own record of direct spend into the economy with $505.9 million.

That is up from $387 million in fiscal year 2016.

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In addition to that, the state also saw 52 productions with a budget of over $1 million, up from 30 in fiscal year 2016.

Because the number of productions grew, the number of worker days also increased — to 448,304 from 260,307 in fiscal year 2016.

Productions mostly are in the Santa Fe/Albuquerque area.

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Roberto E. Rosales/Journal Pictured is the back lot at Albuquerque Studios with sets for several productions, including the show Preacher. (Albuquerque Journal)

Albuquerque Studios saw a huge impact during this last year. Wayne Rauschenberger, chief operating officer of the studios, said there were a couple times that the studios had four shows shooting at the lot. Part of that success is thanks to return customers.

“We get a call from them every time they want to come back,” he said. “We also try to accommodate the locations stuff. There’s a back lot for ‘Midnight, Texas’ and using some of the other back spaces for ‘The Brave’ and ‘The Night Shift’ outdoor shots. We’ve been able to accommodate everything they’ve thrown at us.”

Gov. Susana Martinez released the information on Wednesday at ABQ Studios while on a portion of the set of NBC’s drama “The Brave.”

“From our talented workforce to our unmatched scenery and robust incentives, the choice is clear — New Mexico is the perfect place for film and television production,” Martinez said. “We’re proud of all our state has to offer, and pleased that our film industry helps us build on our momentum in growing and diversifying New Mexico’s economy.”

Martinez touted the work of the New Mexico Film Office.

Nick Maniatis, film office director, said the film office seeks out a diverse group of productions because the landscape of the industry is constantly changing.

“We have a lot of smaller (productions) and we have TV series that are 10 episodes and some are longer,” he said. “We have big TV studio productions. We’re really trying to attract all different types. I want to accomplish more in digital media, but we don’t have enough people to get that done. We’re small, but we’re mighty.”

Maniatis said a third year of increases also helps the film office make incremental changes to streamline the process.

One of the upgrades is the New Mexico Film Residency Certification Card, which makes the hiring of New Mexico residents easier for both the film and television industries. “This helps smooth things out for workers in the industry,” he says. “We’re constantly looking at ways to make it better.”

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