Las Cruces film productions roar into 2022 with over $3.6M in direct spend - Albuquerque Journal

Las Cruces film productions roar into 2022 with over $3.6M in direct spend

Jonathon Sepp is a film liaison for Film Las Cruces. In five years, he has seen the film industry explode. (Courtesy of Film Las Cruces)

In February, Jonathon Sepp will hit the five-year mark at Film Las Cruces.

In that time, he’s seen Las Cruces go from hidden gem to a full-fledged hot spot.

“We’re no longer that hidden gem,” he says boldly. “I haven’t had too much time to reflect on all of the work we’ve been doing. It’s been a lot and this is what I’ve envisioned for my hometown.”

Sepp is a film liaison for Film Las Cruces. The organization has film contracts for the city of Las Cruces and Doña Ana County.

“We’re here for productions during their planning and we follow through in getting boots on the ground and line them up with vendors,” Sepp says. “That’s one of the areas that I appreciate with the job. I’m on the ground with everyone else. I align some of our clients with our local businesses that fit in well.”

Sepp often finds himself running around southern New Mexico all the time.

During the week of Christmas, he had a production come in for a location scout.

“We made sure to give our attention to the production and get them settled,” he says. “Then it was a short break for a week.”

There hasn’t been too much downtime for Sepp and the folks at Film Las Cruces.

From July through December, there have already been 16 projects in the Las Cruces area with a direct spend of $3.6 million into the local economy.

The direct spend has set a record, easily beating out the $2.6 million in direct spend in fiscal year 2019.

“There’s still half a year to go,” Sepp says excitedly. “There are two different productions in various stages of pre-production right now.”

In the fall, the Las Cruces area was host to four productions – “The Locksmith,” “Hot Seat,” “Knight” and “Chupa.”

Seeing the interest in Las Cruces grow makes Sepp smile.

“It’s been happening more and more,” he says. “People are reaching out. There are businesses looking to take part in productions. We have Las Crucens calling us and allowing us to use their property for base camp. We’re here to assist with those opportunities.”

Sepp also works with Film Las Cruces’ Board of Directors in helping keep the office funded.

“Our film office is a little bit different in how we interact with productions,” he says. “Of course, we assist with permits. We will also help with location scouts. We hired another full-time film liaison. So now I don’t have to feel stretched thin to make it all happen.”

Sepp has always loved the film and TV industry.

He’s now an integral part of it.

“This world is for me,” he says. “It’s really exciting for it to be in my hometown. We’re already growing some incredibly talented filmmakers. Las Cruces has played a huge role in developing my love for film and TV. I went to Las Cruces High School, NMSU (New Mexico State University) and DACC (Doña Ana Community College). In high school, my interest was in my broadcast class. Now we are creating the infrastructure for all New Mexicans to succeed. It’s an exciting time.”

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

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