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New Mexico native writes, directs ‘The Dust Storm’

Colin O’Donoghue and Kristen Gutoskie in a scene from the film “The Dust Storm.”

Colin O’Donoghue and Kristen Gutoskie in a scene from the film “The Dust Storm.”

ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Ryan Lacen began his film career in New Mexico while a student at New Mexico State University and the University of New Mexico.

He was fortunate enough to work on “Swing Vote,” “The Spirit,” “Sunshine Cleaning” and “Year One” to name a few productions.

The native New Mexican always dreamed of bringing a film back to his home state – and he is.

LACEN: Wrote and co-directed “The Dust Storm”

LACEN: Wrote and co-directed “The Dust Storm”

Lacen wrote and directed “The Dust Storm,” which will screen at the Allen Theatres Cineport 10 at 9:30 p.m. March 4.

“The entire project was fun to work on,” he says. “I’m excited to get a hometown crowd to see the film. We’ve been promoting it for some time, and my goal was to bring it to New Mexico.”

“The Dust Storm” follows Brennan, played by Colin O’Donoghue, who is visiting Nashville, Tenn.

He is a broken musician working for a soul-sucking corporation.

Everything changes when he finds himself reunited with Nora, played by Kristen Gutoskie, the girl who crushed his heart a decade prior.

Now for one weekend, a romance will be reborn and tested all while encompassing the intoxicating world of the city’s music scene.

The film also stars Chris Carmack of ABC’s “Nashville” and Jim O’Heir of NBC’s “Parks and Recreation.” O’Donoghue stars in ABC’s “Once Upon a Time,” and Gutoskie recently was cast in the CW’s “Containment.”

Production took place in Nashville for 12 days.

Lacen says, “It’s not country music – it’s all music – we tried to encompass every genre of their music scene,” he says. “(We) did most of our post-production in LA and returned to Las Cruces to finish editing last year.”

Lacen wrote and co-directed the film with Anthony Baldino. While he was writing, he wanted to explore how humans deal with the past.

“I wanted to see if people are still right for each other even after so much time has passed,” he says. “There’s a push and pull to this film.”

Lacen says shooting for just under two weeks was quick for a film – especially one of this size.

He credits the actors who went beyond their jobs.

“We really only had to do one take with Kristen and Colin,” he says. “They came in and smashed their takes. If it were different, we would have had to push production longer.”

Lacen filmed all of his short and student films in Albuquerque while he was in college.

He hopes to bring a production back to New Mexico one day.

“I think it’s every filmmaker’s dream to bring a production back to their hometown,” he says. “Being able to come back home and show the film will be amazing.”

Lacen says Ben La Marca served as editor of the film, and he also teaches at NMSU. Albuquerquean Ian Simon served as producer.

For more information on the film, visit

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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