A night to celebrate film in New Mexico spotlighted one of the state’s economic drivers.
The inaugural New Mexico Film & TV Hall of Fame was held in Santa Fe on Sunday night.
A few hundred gathered at the gala to honored eight who have made a difference in the film industry.
The inductees are:
• Thomas Edison, in recognition of the first film shot in New Mexico 120 years ago at the Isleta Pueblo, “Indian Day School.”
• The New Mexico Film Office (formerly the New Mexico Film Commission) will be celebrating its 50th anniversary since its founding in 1968 by Gov. Dave Cargo, as the first film office in the country. The award will feature original commission member Max Evans and the current head of the New Mexico Film Office, Nick Maniatis.
• “The Milagro Bean Field War” on its 30th anniversary, featuring director Robert Redford, author John Nichols, and composer Dave Grusin.
• “Breaking Bad” on its 10th anniversary, with the cast and crew, including Stewart Lyons, the producer who worked on the entire series.
• “Bless Me, Ultima” on its fifth anniversary, recognizing iconic author Rudolfo Anaya.
• Imogene Hughes, the first lady of New Mexico film and the doyenne of Bonanza Creek Ranch.
• New Mexico screenwriter, philanthropist and icon George R.R. Martin.
Martin, a Santa Fe resident, has jumped in head first into the film industry. Not only does he own the Jean Cocteau Cinema, he also started the Stagecoach Foundation, which will be celebrating its first anniversary soon.
Martin takes meetings with filmmakers and studio executives about bringing films to Santa Fe and New Mexico.
He touted the $505.9 million of direct spend the state saw last fiscal year.
“Records are meant to be broken,” he says. “We can do even better especially if we all work together and put our efforts in promoting Santa Fe, New Mexico and film and television.”
Martin agrees that New Mexico has some of the best tax credits — only a few states rival it.
“Our tax credit has a cap and when we have a number of different productions they use that cap,” he says. “We have to get rid of that cap. We can have five productions going in New Mexico, why not have 10 or 20. Let’s get rid of that cap. We need to train more people and we need more training programs.”
The gala also paid homage to the 10th anniversary of “Breaking Bad,” a series that put the state on the map.
Lyons was a producer on the series and accepted his award.
“I got here in January 2007 and I didn’t know New Mexico or anybody here,” Lyons says. “I was so scared with “Breaking Bad.” I didn’t know if anyone would watch. … Within a couple days, I called my wife and said I made a terrible mistake … And she told me to stick with it and I did.”
Lyons also went on to be a producer for the first season of “Better Call Saul.”
He says there are a few things to be proud of with “Breaking Bad.”
“We started out with 60 percent of the crew being New Mexicans,” he says. “By the end of ‘Breaking Bad,’ we were at 90 percent New Mexico. It changed my life and changed the life of many people here. It changed TV and the perception of how TV impacts. This is a show that had a deep impact and we’re never going to forget that.”
There were also four rising-star honorees: director and screenwriter Hannah Macpherson, cinematographer Conci Althouse, actress Morning Star Angeline, and director and screenwriter Joshua Oppenheimer.