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From Albuquerque to Hollywood: Benito Martinez discovered his love of acting here before making it on screen

Albuquerque native Benito Martinez will return to the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience. (Courtesy of Bob D’Amico/ABC)

Albuquerque native Benito Martinez will return to the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience. (Courtesy of Bob D’Amico/ABC)

Albuquerque Film & Music Experience has added more music to its festival this year.

It also offers a plethora of panels, films and exhibits, the event is on track to top itself from previous years.

One element that the festival prides itself on is providing entertainment from an international market and weaving it with some local flair.

One panel will have Albuquerque native Benito Martinez on it.

The actors’ panel will be held at 11 a.m. Saturday, June 6, at the Hyatt Regency. It will include Martinez, Tom Schuch, Jeremiah Bitsui and Annika Marks.

Martinez grew up in the Duke City and most recently had roles on “House of Cards” and “American Crime.”

He’s had regular roles in the TV shows “The Shield,” “Sons of Anarchy,” “Supernatural” and “Saving Grace.” He’s also appeared on nearly two dozen other TV shows for brief stints.

When it comes to movies, he’s been in “Saw,” “Million Dollar Baby,” “End Game” and “The Dry Land.” He’s even picked up an American Latino Media Arts Award for his work in “The Shield” in 2007.

“I got my break when I was cast in ‘Mi Familia,'” he says. “This was one of my first major roles in a film, and it was a great experience. I had the opportunity to work with some amazing people on this film.”

Theater was ingrained in Martinez’s DNA. His mother founded La Compania de Teatro de Alburquerque, which was a bilingual theater company in the late 1970s.

Martinez will speak about making it as an actor in the film business.

He credits his education at both Albuquerque High and Rio Grande High schools with getting his start in acting. He moved to Hollywood, where he graduated from Hollywood High School.

“My parents were involved in acting, and they moved the family near my senior year,” he says. “Getting into Hollywood High, I realized how dedicated all of the students were and it helped me up my game with acting.”

After graduation, Martinez went on to study at the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art in England. It was there that he realized his love of film and decided to look into film and TV projects, along with theater stints.

“I enjoy being in front of a crowd,” he says. “Being able to come back home and see some of my family is great. I’m also humbled at the opportunity of giving back to a community that supported my career from the beginning.”

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