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UNM senior’s ‘The End Begins: Phase II’ is gaining buzz

A scene from “The End Begins” directed by Nick Nelson.

A scene from “The End Begins” directed by Nick Nelson.

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Nick Nelson grew up as a fan of film, especially films such as “Aliens,” “Terminator” and “Red Dawn.”

Those movies are one of the main reasons that Nelson decided to head back to school and get a degree in film.

The University of New Mexico senior is in his last semester and gaining some buzz for his series “The End Begins.”

“It’s been a journey in making this entire project,” he says. “The film community has rallied around this project and really helped it succeed.”

Nick Nelson is the director of the series “The End Begins.”

Nick Nelson is the director of the series “The End Begins.”

“The End Begins” is a five-part miniseries that follows the journey of an unsuspecting computer programmer who works for a private defense corporation and uncovers information that will crumble the nation’s defense and force him to forfeit control of the life he knows. After losing everything that is important to him, he gains allies in the most unlikely places and takes action to stabilize the country before all is lost.

Nelson is gearing up to release “phase two” of the series on Saturday, Jan. 31.

Nelson says the first part of the series went over well when it premiered last year. He admits there have been plenty of hurdles for him jump over in making the second part.

“We’ve had plenty of issues arise, but we’ve dealt with them,” he says. “It’s no different from any other film project.”

One problem that has Nelson’s nerves twisted in knots is the fact that he lost hours of footage while editing the film.

“Somehow my screens were messed up and that cost me a lot of time,” he says. “These things happen and it’s stressful, but it will all be done.”

Nelson’s latest installment leaves the modern world and enters the Navajo Reservation. Being Native American, Nelson says he wanted to incorporate that aspect into the series. In fact, Nelson went to Hollywood, Calif., for the second annual Honoring Natives in Entertainment and Media, where he screened the trailer for the series in Dine.

“The response was amazing,” he says. “People started to inquire about the series and ask if I was willing to move to California.”

Nelson says he grew up in New Mexico and wants to stay here to make films. He says if a project required him to go out to California, he would go just for the project and then return.

“I live up in Jemez and my backyard includes mesas and plenty of land,” he says. “This is where I go when I’m stuck or just want to unwind. I doubt I would get that opportunity in a bigger city. I like the open space.”

Ari Stidham stars as Sylvester Dodd in the CBS hit show, “Scorpion.”

Ari Stidham stars as Sylvester Dodd in the CBS hit show, “Scorpion.”

Though Nelson has found his place behind the camera, his film career didn’t begin that way. It took him a long time to pursue acting because he didn’t want to be typecast as the Native American in the loincloth.

It wasn’t until he was cast in the then-little known show “Breaking Bad” back in 2006, when he realized he wanted to be in the film industry full time.

“I was out in To’hajiilee for the shoot,” he says. “I was playing a tribal police officer and it was great. I had the time of my life. During that first season, I must have been called back a dozen times. It was then I knew exactly what I wanted to do. I then went back to school.”

IT ALL ADDS UP: Ari Stidham is gaining a lot of attention as Sylvester Dodd in the CBS hit show, “Scorpion.”

Nearly 15 million viewers per week watch as Stidham brings Dodd to life as the “Human Calculator” in a team of brilliant misfit prodigies, recruited by Homeland Security as the last line of defense against a series of complex, high-tech threats around the globe.

Visit to read more about Stidham’s quick rise to fame and what is next on the hit show.

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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