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Mission possible: Albuquerque-based independent filmmaker strives to bring projects to New Mexico

Hillary Zinke, key hair and makeup artist, puts makeup on Michael Lovato who stars as Miguel in the dramedy “Millennium Bugs.” (Greg Sorber/Journal)

Alejandro Montoya Marín is on a mission to bring his film projects to New Mexico.

After appearing on the TV competition series “Rebel Without a Crew” in 2018, the Albuquerque-based independent filmmaker began his next project, “Millenium Bugs.”

Montoya Marín turned to crowdfunding to raise money for the feature film.

In 60 days, he was able to raise over $55,000 from backers worldwide. Even RogerEbert.com shared it.

“Honestly, I didn’t think we were going to get passed $25,000,” Montoya Marín said. “I did all reaching out via social media by myself. I once texted for nine hours straight and got cramps in my fingers. Every day I was working on the campaign. To have that many backers believe in this film is overwhelming. I want to show them what we can accomplish in New Mexico.”

Alejandro Montoya Marín, center, director of the dramedy “Millennium Bugs” goes over the scene with actors Michael Lovato, left, and Katy Erin.

“Millennium Bugs” is a dramedy set in the 1990s that deals with family issues, alcoholism and the potential end of the world — Y2K.

It stars Katy Erin, Michael Lovato, Micah McNeil, Rogelio T. Ramos, Romy Peniche, Chad Brummett, Melyssa Zurasky and Tamas Nadas.

Ryan Halsey, director of cinematography, wears an Easyrig, which holds the camera on his body, as he prepares to film a scene for the dramedy “Millennium Bugs” at Acme Towing.

Montoya Marín and crew filmed for 14 days around Albuquerque.

Securing locations was difficult because none of it could be finalized until the campaign was over.

“Every obstacle that could come up happened on the set. It was so stressful,” Montoya Marín said. “We had really cold nights and our film is set in the winter and spring was starting to show around town. We had to figure out how to shoot it.”

On “Rebel Without a Crew,” Montoya Marín had to film a feature film with a budget of $7,000.

With more than $50,000, there were so many more opportunities.

“What we were able to do with more money was great,” he said. “We also got a lot of help from the state. They are great for assistance in helping secure locations and for advice.”

The cast and crew was about 90% New Mexican, with lead actors and directors coming from out of state.

That number qualifies the production for the state’s film incentive package.

“For an indie production like ours, getting 25% back means that we have money for either post-production or marketing,” he said. “It means that we can submit to more film festivals.”

The film is in post-production and being sent out to festivals.

Katy Erin as Kelly waits for the scene to be filmed for the dramedy “Millennium Bugs” at Acme Towing in Albuquerque. (Greg Sorber/Journal)

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