Marisa X. Jimenez, Executive Director of George RR Martin’s Stagecoach Foundation, talks to OHI about “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs” and what its filming means to Santa Fe and the film industry statewide. The first of its kind limited series is the inaugural small screen effort from award winning filmmaking team Joel and Ethan Coen (Raising Arizona, True Grit, Fargo, The Big Lebowski, No Country for Old Men).
OHI: How did it come about that the foundation and the fabled Coen Brothers ended up partnering on this project?
MXJ: Eric Witt, Executive Director at the Santa Fe Film Office introduced us to the Coen Brothers production looking for office space to set up production offices for their film “The Ballad of Buster Scruggs.” They toured the space and loved it. It had enough space to support their entire team. It’s been a great partnership and we are very pleased to have them as our first tenant.
OHI: What opportunities and other perks do you think Santa Fe and the rest of the state can expect from the filming Buster Scruggs?
MXJ: Having a major feature film like this one in Santa Fe obviously has a dramatic economic impact. Not just on Santa Fe but throughout New Mexico. This film will be employing almost 200 New Mexico crew members. And will use many New Mexico vendors and other businesses to help them with their production. From lumber to hotels to restaurants and extras, the list of businesses that are hired by production can go on and on.
The Coens are Oscar winners, so this film will get worldwide distribution, and people all over the world will get to see the beauty of New Mexico. This will help promote the state, while attracting other filmmakers to New Mexico.
OHI: How would you describe the state of the local film industry?
MXJ: Right now, it’s really strong. Last year the film industry brought in over $400 million to the state. There’s a real synergy going on. And seeing how well it’s doing, and how many resources we have now in the state—from the Santa Fe Film Office to the New Mexico Film Office and the growing numbers of talent and crew who are here—We wanted to step in and help make Santa Fe that much stronger as a film community and to make it more attractive to these larger productions like the Coen Brothers’ movie.
But we always welcome more support; we have to stay on our game because the film industry is very competitive.
OHI: What other projects or initiatives, that you can talk about, do you have on the horizon for Stagecoach?
MXJ: We currently have educational workshops catering to our youth, especially targeting underprivileged communities who don’t have the access or the resources. These kids will be able to focus on different roles integral to a film production—from acting and production, to construction and accounting. We believe there is a role for them in film and we hope to inspire them and assist them along their journey.
Our first educational workshop was taught by storyboard artist J. Todd Anderson. We provided two workshop classes teaching kids the art of storyboarding. These kids didn’t even know you could draw in film, or that this was even a career. These are the kinds of opportunities we want Stagecoach Foundation to provide to everyone—especially our youth.
If productions are filming in Santa Fe, NM they can rent out our beautiful 10,588 sq. foot office space and work with Stagecoach Foundation to make a positive impact in the community through our programs. We currently have our educational program, our seminar program and mentorship/career development program.
Through these programs we hope to bring in talented working professionals in the field and connect them with our local community to help them along their career development.
Visit Stagecoach Foundation at stagecoachfdn.org.