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Witty plea: Masking for someone else: Can humor get the message across?

Las Cruces actor Jack Lutz is seen in a PSA for wearing masks. (Courtesy of Rajeev Nirmalakhandan)

Wearing a mask.

It’s man-dated by Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham as part of her health orders.

Five local filmmakers were asked to make a public service announcement about the measures.

Las Cruces filmmaker Rajeev Nirmalakhandan stepped in to make one.

“I was contacted by (State Sen.) Jeff Steinborn about doing a PSA about mask wearing,” Nirmalakhandan says. “I looked at this as an opportunity to help educate the public while having a little fun.”

Local actors David Edwards and Jack Lutz are the major characters in the PSA. The video can be watched at

Nirmalakhandan says the PSA took five hours to complete.

Safety measures were followed on set.

The crew wore masks during the production of the PSA on mask wearing. (Courtesy of Courtesy of Rajeev Nirmalakhandan)

“There were temperature checks, and everyone on set was socially distanced,” he says. “It was probably the quickest and most streamlined project I’ve ever worked on.”

Nirmalakhandan is part of the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University. He’s been on staff since 2006, though he moved to New Mexico in 1989.

He’s also a graduate of UCLA Film School and enjoys every aspect of film.

“I love enticing laughs, tears, gasps, and slowing down blinks with my work,” he says. “Forming bonds with strangers with my ideas is bliss.”

For his PSA, Nirmalakhandan wanted to update Gov. Lujan Grisham’s health order on masks.

“It’s a good and important message,” he says. “I felt like the messaging was getting a little dull. The way to always treat a message is through humor.”

Rajeev Nirmalakhandan on the set of his PSA in Las Cruces. (Courtesy of Rajeev Nirmalakhandan)

Nirmalakhandan came up with the concept of having Edwards’ character walking into a store sans clothes.

“The customers are more appalled that he’s not wearing a mask,” Nirmalakhandan says. “The message is very clear.”

Nirmalakhandan the message is very clear and it’s socially responsible to wear a mask until the pandemic is under control.

“It was a great opportunity to help spread an important message,” he says. “The fact that everyone was local really made a difference. We were able to keep everyone safe and create a great product.”

SEND ME YOUR TIPS: If you know of a movie filming in the state, or are curious about one, email Follow me on Twitter @agomezART.

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