SANTA FE, N.M. — Albuquerque continues to make waves in the film industry.
According to MovieMaker Magazine’s “best places to live and work” big cities list, the city ranks at No. 5 for 2016.
This is three places up from 2015’s list.
Since 2007, the city has been on the list, even topping the list in 2010. Though in 2013, it fell to No. 11.
As in previous years, the film incentive program is a big factor in helping draw some big productions to the state.
According to the article, “Albuquerque is on fire — and not just because it’s one of the driest places in the country. This desert city is consistently landing some of the most exciting productions in the nation, taking a major leap up on our list this year.”
Some of the productions credited to the rise on the list is the ongoing production of AMC’s “Better Call Saul” as well as the sequel, “Independence Day: Resurgence,” which has a reported budget of $200 million.
NBC TV series “The Night Shift” as well as Epix’s new series “Graves” filmed in the Duke City.
And Jeff Bridges returned to New Mexico to shoot “Comancheria,” as well as Matthew McConaughey, who filmed “Gold” in and around the city.
MovieMaker brings attention to the film incentive program, which offers a 25-30 percent refundable tax credit with no minimum spend.
It also touches on the forward-thinking Film Crew Advancement Program, which facilitates on-the-job training and reimburses productions for 50 percent of a local crew member’s labor if the production moves him or her up the ladder.
The city encourages productions to award a $100-per-day stipend to public programs in the neighborhoods most affected by film shoots.
“We started this program in 2008,” says the city’s Film Liaison, Ann Lerner, “and to date the movie industry has raised $103,460 to help neighborhood groups.”
MovieMaker rated each city according to six criteria: Film Production in 2015 (shooting days, number of productions, dollars generated), Film Community and Culture (film schools, festivals, independent theaters, film organizations), Access to Equipment and Facilities, Tax Incentives, Cost of Living, and a General category that encapsulates lifestyle, weather and transportation.
Albuquerque competes in the big cities, which pits it against cities with populations larger than 400,000.
MovieMaker also stated, “All signs point to an Albuquerque that dominates the national moviemaking stage in the years to come.”
The City Different is also ranked by MovieMaker at No. 4 on the top 10 “small cities and towns” list.
Santa Fe was ranked at No. 3 last year.
According to MovieMaker, “for a town with a population of just under 70,000, Santa Fe is outrageously busy when it comes to moviemaking.”
The city shares the same statewide incentives as Albuquerque, and with about a dozen production facilities, equipment rental businesses and post-production houses in all, Santa Fe has attracted shows like WGN’s series “Manhattan” and Netflix’s “Longmire,” and features such as “The Ridiculous 6,” Tjardus Greidanus’s “Hellbent,” the Nikolaj Coster-Waldau-starring “Shot Caller” and “The Magnificent Seven,” which also shot in Louisiana.
“A consistent average of 60 filming permits per year are executed within the city alone, which includes various travel and leisure programming, independents and student projects,” says Lisa Van Allen, Santa Fe’s film liaison.
In the article, MovieMaker says “Santa Fe is simply gorgeous, but moviemakers are not the only ones who have caught on. Tourism is a stronghold of the Santa Fe economy, and all those visitors come with a price tag to the housing market — the cost of living in Santa Fe is about 20 percent higher than it is in neighboring Albuquerque, only an hour’s drive to the south. Since many of the shoots that come through the Land of Enchantment wind up shooting in both Albuquerque and Santa Fe, crew travels fluidly between the two cities, and may choose to live in one and work in the other.”
The film festivals — Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and Santa Fe Film Festival — were also mentioned alongside the Jean Cocteau Cinema.