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Making waves: Filmmaker’s upcoming projects put New Mexico into the spotlight

Albuquerque actor and filmmaker Vince McDaniel is currently filming the project, “The Commando” in Albuquerque. (Courtesy of Vince McDaniel)

Pushing forward.

That’s one way Vince McDaniel likes to live his life.

The New Mexico-based filmmaker is making waves with upcoming projects – all planned to film in the state.

His current project is “The Commando” – which is filming in New Mexico.

The cast is full of some heavy hitters. The production is led by Oscar nominee Mickey Rourke. Michael Jai White, Jeff Fahey, Brendan Fehr and Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone.

The film tells the story of Drug Enforcement Administration agent James Baker, played by White, who returns home after a botched mission.

Baker must then face off with Johnny, played by Rourke, when the newly released prison criminal sneaks into the agent’s house to steal a stash of millions.

Asif Akbar is at the helm as director. The screenplay is written by Koji Steven Sakai.

McDaniel has a role in the film and is co-producing the project. He says it’s been a long time coming.

“We’ve been trying to make this happen,” he says. “Every day, we’re trying to make new paths for our projects to be done.”

New Mexico-based actor Donald “Cowboy” Cerrone is starring in “The Commando,” which is filming in New Mexico. (John Locher/Ap)

Over the years, McDaniel has been working with New Mexico-based filmmaker Chris Ranney on a lot of different projects.

One of the upcoming projects is “Blackdom.”

“Blackdom” is set in the Jim Crow-era South. It tells the story of a Black man who is falsely accused of murder and he flees to the New Mexico Territory and starts an all-Black town, only to be hunted down by the man who framed him.

Blackdom is an actual ghost town in Chaves County that was founded by African American settlers around the turn of the century and was abandoned in the mid-1920s.

Mickey Rourke stars in “The Commando.” (Evan Agostini/Invision/Ap)

The town experienced significant growth in the first decades, with settlers from throughout the United States moving to the community, although a drought in 1916 caused many settlers to relocate.

It was founded by Frank Boyer, who was raised hearing stories from his father about New Mexico before being educated at Morehouse College and Fisk University.

McDaniel says this is a film in which Black actors can take hold of their image again.

In many films, even in New Mexico, McDaniel has been cast as a gang member or thug.

“With this film, many of these people are educated,” he says. “This man was from Morehouse and made a difference. We want to make a difference with this film.”

McDaniel was raised in Albuquerque and calls the city his home.

“Chris and I have a slate of movies that I plan on shooting here in New Mexico,” McDaniel says. “I’m working with Buffalo 8 to help me get ‘Blackdom’ done in the spring.”

Brendan Fehr is in the cast of “The Commando.” (Willy Sanjuan/Invision/Ap)

McDaniel says he hopes to run his entire slate in collaboration with Buffalo 8.

While he’s excited about all his projects, he’s looking forward to the upcoming project, “The Bone Yard.”

“It’s about the West Mesa Murders,” he says. “This one was inspired by the story of one of my friends. His cousin is missing and she’s suspected to be one of the missing women. She hasn’t been found.”

McDaniel says he wanted to tackle the heavy theme because it’s important to him.

“I have four daughters,” he says. “The murders are something that is every parent’s worst nightmare. It will resonate with a lot of people. It’s still a story about human trafficking and the way our youth is misled.”

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