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CNM, city unite to boost film program

CNM President Kathie Winograd, left, and Albuquerque Mayor Tim Keller sign a Memorandum of Understanding to create the CNM Film Production Center of Excellence on Friday. (Adrian Gomez/Journal)

Copyright © 2019 Albuquerque Journal

Call it the Netflix effect.

Since the streaming giant purchased Albuquerque Studios in late 2018, there’s been buzz around the film industry.

And CNM and the city of Albuquerque are taking notice.

On Friday, the city of Albuquerque and Central New Mexico Community College signed a memorandum of understanding for a location in the Rail Yards to build the forthcoming CNM Film Production Center of Excellence.

“Breaking Bad,” starring Bryan Cranston and Aaron Paul

CNM began its film production program 15 years ago and continues to grow it.

Anticipating the impact Netflix will have on the local film industry, CNM President Kathie Winograd wanted to help train a sufficient workforce.

“The excitement of having Netflix here has made us dream even bigger and think about all the things we can do not only in the programs we have now,” Winograd said. “We see this as an opportunity to be nationally recognized and be the place not only for films … but we see this as the place to come for education.”

The Rail Yards has been a set for numerous films and TV productions, including “Terminator: Salvation,” “The Avengers,” “Better Call Saul” and “Breaking Bad.”

Mayor Tim Keller said the city has completed an environmental characterization of the site and submitted a voluntary remediation plan to the state.

The city is also moving forward with demolition of small non-historic structures and site improvements. And the city has submitted a state capital request for $15 million to support rail yard environmental remediation and site improvements.

Marvel’s “Avengers,” directed by Joss Whedon, left, and starring Mark Ruffalo.

Keller said, “With CNM, in this facility, we are bridging a number of things. One is a desire to revitalize Downtown and a desire to invest in our underserved communities. Then of course, we have this amazing Netflix (deal) and they have a huge workforce need. CNM provides that workforce.”

He said the center will be a place for students to practice filming.

“The idea of bringing hundreds of students each day will be the catalyst for the project,” he said.

Charlie O’Dowd, a CNM film instructor, said expansion of the film program at the school has a definite connection to the city and Netflix.

“The reality is there is training needed,” O’Dowd said. “CNM is doing the training already. This deal will apparently lead to buildings that are built to teach.”

Keller said the project is going to take a lot of work.

“These little pieces are extra special,” Keller said. “It’s going to really uplift the entire neighborhood and be the nexus of all things New Mexico.”

CNM President Kathie Winograd speaks about the CNM Film Production Center of Excellence at the rail yards on Friday. (Adrian Gomez/Journal)

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