Las Cruces rising as filmmaking hot spot; tax incentives are helping - Albuquerque Journal

Las Cruces rising as filmmaking hot spot; tax incentives are helping

The Organ Mountains Desert Peaks National Monument encompasses about 500,000 acres of recreational opportunities surrounding Las Cruces and serves as a backdrop to feature films. (Courtesy of Visit Las Cruces)

Copyright © 2021 Albuquerque Journal

Las Cruces’ profile in the film industry is rising.

The southern New Mexico city has snagged another feature film production, according to the New Mexico Film Office.

On Friday, the office announced that the feature film “The Locksmith” is filming through mid-December in Las Cruces and other parts of Doña Ana County.

“The Locksmith” is the story of an expert locksmith fresh out of prison after a job gone bad. Back home, he tries to work his way back into the life of his daughter and his ex-girlfriend, who is now a police detective. Determined to make a clean start, he is forced to use the only skills he has as a gifted locksmith. However, things soon get complicated after an unexpected kidnapping.

It stars Ryan Phillippe, Kate Bosworth and Ving Rhames.

Ryan Phillippe is starring in “The Locksmith.”

The film is being produced by Mark David and Roger Goff, and directed by Nicholas Harvard.

“Making this film in southern New Mexico has been a huge benefit for us,” Goff said. “The locations are stunning, the weather is beautiful, the people are welcoming and helpful. I can’t imagine a better production experience or where else we could have made this film that would have been better.”

The production will employ approximately 65 New Mexico crew members and 200 New Mexico background talent.

“The Locksmith” is the third project to announce it is filming in the Las Cruces area in recent weeks.

In late October, the film office announced the movies “Hot Seat” and “Knight.”

“Hot Seat” stars Mel Gibson, Shannen Doherty, Michael Welch and Kevin Dillon. It will also employ 55 New Mexico crew members, 10 New Mexico principal actors and 200 New Mexico background talent.

Bruce Willis stars in “Knight.” It will employ approximately 50 New Mexico crew members, 10 New Mexico principal actors and 200 New Mexico background talent.

“The team of ‘Knight’ is very excited about filming in New Mexico,” said Ed Drake, “Knight” director. “We heard great things about crew and talent in New Mexico, and, of course, the tax credit helped make it an easy decision to move the production here from Georgia.”

Amber Dodson, New Mexico Film Office director, said Las Cruces is becoming a location of choice for film projects.

“(It’s) because of the stunning locations and supportive film office, but, most importantly, because productions can take full advantage of the competitive film incentive that New Mexico offers by shooting in an uplift zone,” Dodson said.

While some productions are based in Albuquerque or Santa Fe, most are filming around the state. Productions that film 60 miles outside the Albuquerque/Santa Fe corridor can get an additional 5% added to the 25%-30% incentive.

Amber Dodson, New Mexico Film Office director

Kate Bosworth is starring in “The Locksmith.”

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