New Mexico's film industry in preproduction - Albuquerque Journal

New Mexico’s film industry in preproduction

After months of being shut down, the New Mexico film industry is scheduled to resume, with COVID-safe practices. Above, Steven Bauer and Michael Mando during filming of the fifth season of “Better Call Saul.” (Greg Lewis/AMC/Sony Pictures Television)

Copyright © 2020 Albuquerque Journal

Despite a monthslong shutdown, the New Mexico film industry brought in nearly $400 million in direct spending to New Mexico in fiscal year 2020.

According to the New Mexico Film Office, the direct spend of $396.8 million was less than the record, $525.5 million recorded in fiscal 2019, yet still topped three of the past six fiscal years.

The fiscal year 2020 ran from July 1, 2019, through June 30.

The amount brought in fiscal year 2015 was $288.6 million, fiscal year 2016 was $387.2 million, fiscal year 2018 was $234.20 million.

According to the NM Film Office, there were 80 productions during fiscal year 2020. Of those, 27 projects had a New Mexico budget over $1 million.

In fiscal year 2019, there were 73 projects filmed in New Mexico, 43 of which had a budget of $1 million or more.

Preproduction on film and TV projects is slowly starting to roll out in New Mexico – all being required to adhere to COVID-19 guidelines.

“The media and the construction industry have always been deemed essential and the film industry is considered part of these sectors, so limited work is allowed under the public health order with COVID-safe and industry-specific health and safety practices as well as capacity and gating restrictions,” said Bruce Krasnow, New Mexico Economic Development Department public information officer.

Krasnow said work such as preproduction activities, editing, location scouting, set design and building are part of the list of essential work.

“All, of course, with COVID-safe practices, social distancing, gating and capacity limits stipulated in the orders as well as the industry-specific guidelines,” Krasnow said. “We will see a lot of remote work until the restart of a more robust production cycle, which would begin in phases when the governor deems it safe to do so.”

Krasnow said film and television has been on hold around the United States until the industry is able to establish a safe way forward.

“Many studios now have a proper plan that will align with New Mexico’s COVID-safe practices and we will most likely see productions coming soon to New Mexico when public-health conditions are safe enough to warrant a more robust resumption of productions,” he said.

When New Mexico projects come back, the state Film Office said film, television, and video productions must adhere to COVID-safe practices set forth by the state and the film industry.

This includes wearing a mask and social distancing.

Productions will hire COVID-19 officers who will monitor the health of the cast and crew. This means multiple COVID tests a week.

Zones will also be set up for production, and crowd scenes are basically going to be nonexistent.

Eric Witt, a line producer on “The Biggest Loser,” said the industry was going to move to smaller productions.

It was a model the USA Network used while it filmed at the Glorieta Adventure Camps, just north of Santa Fe, earlier this year.

“It’s a self-contained compound on a few thousand acres,” Witt said in May. “It had everything we needed, and we could construct our sets to be done in smaller, practical locations.”

Amber Dodson, NM Film Office director, said when the industry shut down in New Mexico, 12 productions were filming in the state.

USA Network’s limited series “Evel” was in preproduction before the pandemic. It was set to star Milo Ventimiglia and is based on the story of larger-than-life 1970s daredevil Evel Knievel as he prepared for his greatest death-defying feat, the historic Snake River Canyon jump. The series was written by Etan Frankel.

In late July, USA Network decided to not move forward with the production.

“USA is incredibly disappointed to have had to make this decision, as we were so excited about this project and working with Milo, Etan, and everyone involved,” USA said in a written statement.

The state also lost another series.

ABC’s “Big Sky” was scheduled to film in New Mexico and Nevada before making the move to Canada in mid-July.

Home » ABQnews Seeker » New Mexico’s film industry in preproduction

Insert Question Legislature form in Legis only stories

Albuquerque Journal and its reporters are committed to telling the stories of our community.

• Do you have a question you want someone to try to answer for you? Do you have a bright spot you want to share?
   We want to hear from you. Please email

taboola desktop

ABQjournal can get you answers in all pages


Questions about the Legislature?
Albuquerque Journal can get you answers
Email addresses are used solely for verification and to speed the verification process for repeat questioners.
DeSantis recruiters eyed Catholic church for migrant flights that ...
ABQnews Seeker
SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Florida Gov. ... SAN FRANCISCO (AP) -- Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis' recruiters set their sights on Sacred Heart Catholic Church in the Texas border city of El ...
Vara bringing a taste of Spain with its Tinto ...
ABQnews Seeker
The 2020 vintage of Tinto Especial ... The 2020 vintage of Tinto Especial focuses on Spanish influences from the Catalonia region.
Singer-songwriter Logan Ledger to open for Vincent Neil Emerson
ABQnews Seeker
Logan Ledger's upcoming album, "Golden State" ... Logan Ledger's upcoming album, "Golden State" is due out on Sept. 8, but he's hitting the road opening for Vincent Neil Emerson.
Colorado's most destructive wildfire caused by embers from old ...
ABQnews Seeker
BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Embers from ... BOULDER, Colo. (AP) -- Embers from a smoldering scrap wood fire set days earlier outside a home used by a Christian religious communal group ...
Documentary looks at the crucial role libraries play in ...
ABQnews Seeker
"Library Stories: Books on the Backroads" ... "Library Stories: Books on the Backroads" will air at 7 p.m. Thursday, June 15, on New Mexico PBS.
Lobo Mazza-Downie runs to All-America status at NCAA Championship ...
ABQnews Seeker
University of New Mexico runner Amelia ... University of New Mexico runner Amelia Mazza-Downie finished fourth on Thursday night in the women's 10,000-meter final at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field ...
Do-it-all Montes reaching a new level as Isotope hitter
ABQnews Seeker
Loosely translated, "Coco" means coconut in ... Loosely translated, "Coco" means coconut in Spanish. In 2023 minor league baseball terms, with Isotope Coco Montes it's synonymous with raking.
Trump charged over classified documents in 1st federal indictment ...
ABQnews Seeker
MIAMI (AP) -- Donald Trump said ... MIAMI (AP) -- Donald Trump said Thursday that he was indicted for mishandling classified documents at his Florida estate, a remarkable development that makes ...
Dogs and mail carriers really can get along: Here’s ...
ABQnews Seeker
Postal officials urge dog owners to ... Postal officials urge dog owners to take steps to protect carriers on their routes