On the suspicious side, I’m hoping for a turn toward this becoming nothing but a major publicity stunt. Stunt or not, it’s time for a public outcry that the show come back in some way, shape or form. You can’t just let the series die a lonely, back country death.
As for the possible hit to New Mexico television production, take heart in knowing that television productions are alive & well in the state. In addition to the CW series, The Messengers, WGN’s Manhattan and the return of NBC’s, The Night Shift, James McGill is hard at work in the #BreakingBad prequel, Better Call Saul. And at least one (television series pilot) is rumored to be gearing up to shoot right here in the Q, while the relocated production of USA Network’s, Dig is set to begin filming within weeks.
B.T.dubs, this is not the first kink Longmire the series has encountered…it wasn’t an easy row to hoe to get to production rolling in the first place, as its home setting, Wyoming, proved to be less film friendly than New Mexico. So, here’s to finding a more Longmire friendly network for the beloved NM series.
This Blogette says, don’t cry Burqueños! I see the writing on the Facebook wall just like you and it stings a little, but wait! Filming location and setting are oft two very different animals. Am I right, or am I right, or am I right?
Believe it or not New Mexico has played stand-in for such exotic locales as Egypt, Cali, Wyoming, Mexico, other worlds, other galaxies and yes even the East Coast…perhaps you’re familiar with the story of a mad chemistry teacher who made his way all the way to New Hampshire to escape his drug dealing comeuppance. And that my friends was all filmed right here in New Mexico.
So take heart #NM, come November New Mexico WILL hit the small screen again in Better Call Saul – under the talented hand of Sir Odenkirk, led by Masters Gilligan and Gould, for most if not all of its filming. Now the only other devastating turn of events, besides leaving NM to shoot would be if “Lynette” doesn’t land a role:
p.s. OHI has confirmed with sources within the production that NM is the only location on the shooting schedule for now…
A leading New Mexico Casting Director, Robert Baxter (Wild Hogs, Longmire, Jane Got a Gun, Bless Me Ultima) has disclosed that his professional computer records have been tampered with.
The alleged “hacking” has unfortunately deleted Robert Baxter Casting’s entire talent database.
Baxter tells facebook friends and clients, “We have the necessary precautions to prevent this from happening again and asking all of our friends interested in working on set as Background [to] please resubmit your photos and phone numbers to robertbaxtercastin[at]gmail.com.”
UPDATE 11/11/13: NATIONWIDE CASTING CALL FOR STAR WARS: EPISODE VII
If EW is to be believed the following casting call has been issued for “anyone (who fits the following casting specifications) with a video camera”:
Seeking: Young woman to play 17-18 Years old. Must be beautiful, smart and athletic. Open to all ethnicities (including bi- and multi-racial).
Was quite young when she lost her parents. With no other family, she was forced to maker her way alone in a tough, dangerous town. Now 17 she has become street smart and strong. She is able to take care of herself using humor and guts to get by.
Always a survivor, never a victim, she remains hopeful that she can move away from this harsh existence to a better life. She is always thinking of what she can do to move ahead.
Seeking: Young man to play 19-23 years old. Must be handsome, smart and athletic. Must be over 18.
Has grown up without a father’s influence. Without the model of being a man, he doesn’t have the strongest sense of himself. Despite this, he is smart, capable and shows courage when it is needed. He can appreciate the absurdities in life and understands you can’t take life too seriously.
A confirmed release date of December 18, 2015, has been set for Lucasfilm’s highly anticipated Star Wars: Episode VII.
“We’re very excited to share the official 2015 release date for Star Wars: Episode VII, where it will not only anchor the popular holiday filmgoing season but also ensure our extraordinary filmmaking team has the time needed to deliver a sensational picture,” said Alan Horn, chairman of The Walt Disney Studios on Thursday.
With that, New Mexicans are again wondering, who, what, where, when, and how much of the new Star Wars franchise might end up in the Land of Enchantment.
As we’ve been covering for you here, here and here, the “force” is expected to land in New Mexico despite persistent rumors, some convos around town and even investigative reporting that says otherwise.
In addition to knowing that the state has been looked at for both studio and location settings, our current findings, erring on the side of hopeful, point to a fall 2014 location shoot being likely (or at least possible) in New Mexico. As we like to say, “nothing’s official until someone yells that’s a WRAP!”
And now to address one inquiring OHI reader, BG writes:
“I was just curious if by any chance you know what extra-casting
agencies I should sign up with in order to get a chance on Star Wars
episode VII here in NM?”
Well B, we direct all hopefuls to check-in and register with all the hard working and most reputable casting directors we report on listed here, many of which have long resumes with the largest films and television shows the state has ever seen, including The Lone Ranger, No Country for Old Men, Breaking Bad and so much more.
Star Wars: Episode VII will be directed by J.J. Abrams (Super 8, Mission: Impossible III, Star Trek) and is being scripted by Abrams and Lawrence Kasdan (Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi). Lucasfilm president Kathleen Kennedy, J.J. Abrams, and Bryan Burk are producing, with Tommy Harper (Mission: Impossible – Ghost Protocol, Jack Ryan, Star Trek Into Darkness) and Jason McGatlin (Tintin, War of the Worlds) serving as executive producers. John Williams is returning to score Star Wars: Episode VII.
Officially announced shooting is scheduled to begin spring 2014 at Pinewood Studios – UK, with Los Angeles and New Mexico, USA also on the proverbial call sheet…
For our friends and readers around the world here is the UK casting call forecast ICYMI!
One Headlight Ink’s first annual COSTUME OF THE YEAR AWARD goes to “Hanna Skandera”, whipping teachers and ignoring students with her weapon of choice, “The Evaluator” – 50% testing (Scan-Trons), 40% red tape (evaluations), 10% attendance. Whippah!
Join the movement to communicate to our Governor that her un-confirmed pet appointee is sucking the life out of our state’s great teachers and marginalizing our children with her profiteering and pandering to corporate interests – who are buying her off in exchange for driving our teachers and children into the ground.
Ellen Pompeo, star of the award winning television series Grey’s Anatomy, is making headlines today with her statements regarding this year’s Emmy Awards broadcast. Pompeo appears in an SLN video released Monday where she states in part, “I didn’t see any diversity in the Emmys at all…That dance number was embarrassing. Did you see one person of color in that dance number?”
The critical star was not in attendance at Sunday night’s telecast of the 65th Annual Emmy Awards from the Nokia theater in Los Angeles, CA – hosted by New Mexico native Neil Patrick Harris, who can now boast that his latest hosting effort pulled in the highest ratings for the show in the past seven years.
Another notable New Mexican very noticeably absent from the evening’s festivities was actor Steven Michael Quezada – who has starred in Breaking Bad, this year’s Best Drama Winner, since its first season on AMC. In previous years Quezada has been an attendee at the show, featured here and here. But on this, the show’s final run at the awards, the actor who has portrayed “Steven Gomez” since the beginning – whom like Aaron Paul’s character “Jesse Pinkman” was originally slated to be killed-off early on in the series only to make it to the bitter end of season 5.2, was nowhere to be found*.
Likely upon a flurry of inquiries mixed with congratulations on the Albuquerque based show’s big win of the night, Quezada posted online “I look at this picture and I get a little sad. I appeared in 33 episode (sic) and was never made a cast member. Don’t get me wrong, I was extremely blessed to be on this great show…Oh well I have to work harder. Congrats to the awesome cast of the best TV show ever.”
So it appears that the awards show that honored the “best show on television” Sunday night, quietly celebrated some form of diversity with its choice of show host, but visually offended some who were looking for recognition and representation of talents of all creeds and colors, while perhaps some Hollywood politics led to the best drama snubbing one of its own, who happens to be a “person of color”. Possibly a more complicated storyline than any script of the night.
*It is unknown if Quezada declined or was unable to attend the awards show. OHI reached out to him for comment today, but the actor declined taking a position on any Emmy or Breaking Bad situation, saying only that he is “moving forward”.
Recently, the original Albuquerque Film Fest Facebook page was hijacked.
Friday morning, followers of the longstanding “Albuquerque Film Festival” Facebook page were notified that the page, “is changing its name to “Indie Film is Better” on August 29″.
Albuquerque Film Festival founder, Rich Henrich and his partners were the originators of the page back in 2009, since that time it has amassed over 4,000 ‘Likes’ or fans. Friday’s notification to each of those fans, follows at least a few weeks worth of work someone has put in to eliminating all previous content put into the page and adding mostly all new, largely unrelated information, and a glaring founding date revision.
Henrich is in contact with Facebook to try and take back ownership of his event page, or have the stolen page shut down and has legal representation working toward a resolution to the problem. He has also taken to the scene of the “crime”, posting warnings on Facebook stating that the page has been taken over and revamped without his prior knowledge or permission saying, “this is not coming from me or anyone involved with the real ABQFF. This site has been illegally taken from our organization by some unscrupulous individuals in an effort to steal our Facebook fans for their own gain.”
The current ABQFF team has started a new page for the Albuquerque Film Festival here. A 2013 Albuquerque Film Festival is in the works for the fall, with a large scale, revamped fest coming back with a vengeance in the spring of 2014.
Unfortunately their experience in losing control of their all too important and valuable event page is a cautionary tale for social media users in that we should beware of organizations and groups who start-up or suddenly experience major changes on their social media sites – and most of all, a painful reminder to diligently guard your account access and passwords.
If you have New Mexico Entertainment Industry related issues to report or inquire about, you can post your comments here (below) or anonymously email local industry watchdog group, Watch E Dog at email@example.com.
UPDATE 5/15/14: And now we know where Jason Stiff will go…Adios Amigo!
“I don’t think I’ve deliberated any decision more in my entire life than this one: I’ve accepted a job at KCOY to forecast the 5, 6, & 11PM weather for the Santa Maria / Santa Barbara / San Luis Obispo area in California. I’ve lived in New Mexico longer than any other state (other than my home state of Montana), and there was a tremendous amount to consider. I loved forecasting the weather for everyone in New Mexico and enjoyed trying to brighten your days if I could through television, radio and social media. I’m looking forward to a fresh start and a new challenge. I can’t thank you enough for your friendship, support and viewership over the last decade. I don’t know exactly when I’ll start…it all depends on moving availability. Thank you again everyone…take care…” -Jason Stiff
Local media personalities often feel like a part of our families or circle of friends, what with waking-up with them, or spending part of our evening with them, they share news and entertainment with us, we become accustomed to them, even look forward to seeing or hearing from them.
When we read their interesting and/or informative social media posts we can all imagine the sound of their professional voice, maybe even picture their friendly face…well now that’s all you can do if and when you’re looking for your weather updates from arguably the state’s favorite weatherman, because KOB-TV has gone and unceremoniously FIRED meteorologist Jason Stiff.
After more than three years of upstanding work, amassing a substantial fan base all over the state, the veteran WX man is out of a job and likely out of the lives of New Mexicans entirely. Due to a 12 month non-compete clause in the broadcaster’s contract, if Stiff wants to work in his chosen profession he’ll have to leave the market, i.e, New Mexico for an entire year. Outrageous.
Yes, it happens. We’ve seen television and radio shake-ups before, disgruntled with other drop kicks to our media landscape and oftentimes it’s a damn shame. True, these career setbacks don’t take away from the talent of those who garner our admiration and respect, and their stars do and will go on to shine. But if you, like we are mad as hell and want to let your voice be heard, please exercise your right to free speech and contact KOB-TV general manager Mike Burgess at firstname.lastname@example.org or call the station at 505-243-4411.
(AP) NEW YORK – After years of hope, stalled efforts and studio frustration, “Veronica Mars” creator Rob Thomas watched a long-held dream come to fruition in a sudden digital rush.
“There were a few minutes of nothing happening,” he says. “Then in an hour, watching that ticker go was mesmerizing. I had an attention span of, like, four seconds because everything on my computer screen I wanted to look at at the same time. The Twitter feed was going crazy, the emails were going crazy and then watching that Kickstarter total go up.”
Thomas last week launched a Kickstarter campaign to fund a movie of his cult TV show, which was canceled after three seasons in 2007. It met its stated goal of raising $2 million in less than 11 hours, meaning it would be greenlit to begin shooting this summer. It’s surpassed $3.7 million with more than two weeks still to go.
The resounding, immediate success of the crowd-funding campaign sent shockwaves through the movie business. Films had found much-needed financial support on Kickstarter before, but “Veronica Mars” is different. It’s a studio project, owned by Warner Bros., which produced the show.
The money given by the fervent fans of “Veronica Mars,” which starred Kristen Bell as a teenage private eye, will go not to a filmmaker operating on his own, but one with the distribution and marketing muscle of a very large corporation _ just one that hadn’t previously been convinced to bankroll a “Veronica Mars” film.
Were donating fans spurring a goliath to action, or its unwitting pawns?
The wide majority of “Veronica Mars” fans couldn’t care less. They will get the movie they craved, as well as the proud feeling of having played an essential role in the show’s resurrection. Maryland fan Matt Clipp typified the eager contributors, writing: “I am MORE than happy to donate $100 to this project. This movie has been a dream of mine ever since the series ended back in 2007. … LET’S GET THIS THING MADE, `VERONICA MARS’ FANS!”
While the emotional side is surely the biggest motivation for most donors, they’re also paying for tangible goods. Rewards range from an emailed copy of the script ($10 contributions), all the way up to a speaking part in the film as a waiter who says, “Your check, sir,” (a single $10,000 donation). All money is refunded if for any reason the film doesn’t get made.
“Most of the people who are pledging are getting in at the $35 and $50 range where they’re getting a download of the movie, a T-shirt, a copy of the script at $35, and all of that plus the DVD and the making-of documentary at the $50 price point,” says Thomas. “So I don’t think anyone’s being taken advantage of. I feel like the rewards are worth it.”
Typically in film financing, any investor has the chance to earn his money back and potentially share in the profits. Slate claimed the “Veronica Mars” project sets a “terrible precedent.”
Joss Whedon, whose devoted fanboy following is similar, if larger, than Thomas’, said that he reacted in “unfettered joy” at the “Veronica Mars” Kickstarter campaign. But Whedon, who realizes he’ll now be hounded to follow suit with another movie of his canceled cult TV series “Firefly,” acknowledged some trepidation about the financial arrangement for fans.
“I understand that it feels not as pure, and that the presence of a studio makes it disingenuous somehow,” Whedon told BuzzFeed. “But people clearly understood what was happening and just wanted to see more of the thing they love. To give them that opportunity doesn’t feel wrong. If it was a truly wrong move, I don’t think it would have worked.”
Thomas says he’s been in daily contact with Warner Bros., which approved the plan in advance. The studio hasn’t sought to flaunt its involvement. Executives for its digital wing, which is planning a limited theatrical release followed by video-on-demand early next year, declined to comment.
Kickstarter co-founder Yancey Strickler, too, declined to comment when asked through a spokesman about whether corporate involvement compromises Kickstarter’s mission. Kickstarter takes a 5 percent fee from money raised for successful projects.
Since being founded in 2009, Kickstarter has raised more than $500 million for some 35,000 creative projects. The “Veronica Mars” film is far and away its most lucrative movie project.
Earlier this year, the documentary short film “Inocente” became the first Kickstarter-backed Oscar-winner, having raised about $52,000 on the platform. Kickstarter has drawn several big Hollywood names, including David Fincher (a producer of an animated project that raised more than $440,000) and Charlie Kaufman (whose short animated film “Anomalisa” brought in $406,000).
Some have derided Kickstarter’s growing influence (Gawker lamented its “online panhandling”), but few would argue it’s been a positive force for getting dozens of films made in an industry landscape that can be brutal for independent filmmakers.
Thomas admits some of the talk of the “revolutionary” impact of the “Veronica Mars” Kickstarter campaign has been “an overreach,” but he hopes it leads to more low-budget films finding their way in the world.
“I don’t know that I would bet that a Kickstarter model starts to work across the board and that everyone who wants to make a $3, 4, 5 million movie can expect to go to Kickstarter and get financed,” he said. “When there is a brand name product that people have responded to and want to see and there’s already a built in following for it, people can be very successful. I hope that in that respect we are pioneers and we see more of them.”
Many are already seeing new potential to capitalize on small but dedicated fan support. (On the CW, “Veronica Mars” averaged less than 2.5 million viewers.) Shawn Ryan, whose FX drama “Terriers” was canceled in 2010 after one season, tweeted that he was “very interested” in the “Veronica Mars” Kickstarter campaign. “Could be a model for a `Terriers’ wrap up film,” he said.
Thomas also co-created another canceled show _ the Starz cult comedy “Party Down” _ that may be reborn as a film. He’s still hopeful that will happen, but says funding is already lining up more traditionally.
In the meantime, he’s hoping the Kickstarter contributions keep coming. More money means being able to shoot in Southern California (where the show was set) and gradual boosts in production value. The screenplay, of which he has 37 pages written, features a 10-year high school reunion for Mars’ Neptune High _ a gathering that will include inevitable strife.
“In the barebones version, angry words would have been exchanged,” says Thomas. “We’re now starting to look comfortable enough to say there will be a brawl.”
It already promises to be a different kind of filmmaking experience. He’ll have 100-plus Kickstarter contributors to use as extras. A documentary on the making of the movie has begun tracking Thomas with cameras. And the production schedule has been built to include two days purely for Thomas, Bell and others to sign the thousands of movie posters and other items they’ve promised their Kickstarter backers.
Rumors are swirling about who will step in to replace Jude Law in the upcoming Natalie Portman western “Jane Got a Gun”…but has anyone thought that it may be TWO of the a fore mentioned studs instead of just one????
L’est we forget that there’s more than just one vacancy left after the upheaval resulting from a certain director’s direct exit from the film…as we alluded to here, prior to that directorial mess, a genuine scheduling conflict caused a leading man void in the Portman produced pelicula.
IF anyone has ever taken a word of my advice on what a riveting film NM’s Own 2009 “Brothers” was, they’ll know that both Tobey Maguire and Jake Gyllenhaal are a natural fit to work with Portman, and as for Jeff Bridges…well, CRAZY HEART!!!! Need I say more? If so, how ’bout a little film called “True Grit”, starring the naturally dreamy and perfectly aged Jeff Bridges!
Finally I’d be remiss if I didn’t disclose that Bridges’ co-star in Grit, none other than THE Matt Damon of the long ago NM Film, “All the Pretty Horses” is, as of this writing, a scheduling clear contender…
Of course it will be no surprise if none of the above make it to set, as is the world of movie making…maybe one of the locals can take a stab at one or two of the vacant roles on this pic.
Meanwhile, word on the wire is that another long lived leading man is recently signed on for a yet to be announced NM western, namely one Kurt Russell who is said to be on board with “Bone Tomahawk”, led by Timothy Olyphant (Justified) and Jennifer Carpenter (Dexter).
Keep your ears to the grindstone my friends, New Mexico’s Summer shoot schedule is set to be a bumpy ride!
A bit of a hullabaloo has been stirring on the local social net. since highly esteemed casting director Elizabeth Gabel took to Facebook announcing, or rather denouncing what she says is a false claim being made by a fellow local casting director.
Perhaps because OHI publishes and follows updates, projects and events by both women, we were alerted to the post and have received some inquiries questioning what may be at the heart of the row.
For clarification purposes, without direct contact with either one of them, we thought it prudent to present the original web post addressed to the open Facebook group, New Mexico Extra’s & Actors Forum, by Elizabeth Gabel, and a response from Sheryl Roberts as forwarded to OHI by her assistant/spokesperson as follows:
“It has come to my attention that someone named Sheryl Roberts is telling people that she is working on Homesman with me. I DO NOT know this person and have never spoken to this person. Sheryl Roberts has never been, nor will ever be affiliated with EG Casting. If you have any questions or concerns about any project I am working on, please contact me or Lorrie Latham. Thanks.”
“We were made aware of the posting on facebook by Elizabeth Gabel late last night and have been trying to get it down ever since.
Sheryl has not said or stated ever that she is working with Elizabeth in any capacity. As a professional everything that she involves herself in is posted for the public to see on NMfilm. Furthermore, as a lady Sheryl would never claim to be part of a project that she wasn’t.
What upsets Sheryl the most is that Elizabeth did not make any effort at all to try and contact her before putting the post up.”
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UPDATE 3/2/13: the AP reports:
SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) – School workers made a show of opposition against Public Education Secretary designate Hanna Skandera as lawmakers consider whether to confirm her appointment by Republican Gov. Susana Martinez.
But a vote was delayed until sometime next week.
The Senate Rules Committee heard more public testimony on Saturday about Skandera, who’s been in charge of the Public Education Department since Martinez took office in 2011.
Skandera drew opposition from educational unions at Friday’s hearing, and teachers turned out in large numbers Saturday.
Opponents say Skandera doesn’t meet a constitutional requirement for an education secretary to be a “qualified, experienced educator.”
Skandera’s defenders, including some business leaders, say she has broad experience in educational policy although she’s never worked as a public school teacher.
The Senate last rejected a cabinet secretary in 1997, when Republican Gov. Gary Johnson was in office.
The hearing was moved to the Senate gallery to accommodate crowds for the public comment portion. As as a result, the full Senate floor meeting was cancelled.
New Mexico Education Secretary, Hanna Skandera was nominated by Governor Susana Martinez, sans confirmations from the senate, two years ago.
Today the Washington Post has released a scathing story about the secretary’s less than savory dealings with an organization headed by former Florida Governor Jeb Bush, wherein Bush emails point to “working” with multiple state officials in re-writing education laws to “benefit some of its corporate funders.”
In response, the Democratic Party of New Mexico says, “Susana’s Secretary-designee Skandera is caught in the scandal — students suffer when education goes to the highest bidder.”
Here, in part is what the Post has uncovered:
• FEE provides its donors — including for-profit digital education companies — access to the chiefs. A draft agenda for the Excellence in Action 2011 Summit blocked off two hours for “Chiefs for Change donor meetings.” Another draft agenda for the meeting allocated nearly three hours to “Chiefs for Change donor meetings.” The donors for the summit were the Walton Family Foundation, the Charles and Helen Schwab Foundation, the Lynde and Harry Bradley Foundation, the Broad Foundation, the Carnegie Corp., Susan and Bill Oberndorf, GlobalScholar, Target, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Microsoft, State Farm, IQity, McGraw-Hill Education, Doris and Donald Fisher Fund, Intel, Pearson Foundation, Apex Learning, ETS, Electronic Arts, Koret Foundation, SMART Technologies, K12, Morgridge Family Foundation, Charter Schools USA and Connections Academy. Demand for donor time was so high that Patricia Levesque wrote that she had to turn down opportunities for the chiefs to meet other representatives from companies.
[Martinez appointee Skandera] Unconfirmed but still on the job – El Paso Times
• FEE staff served as advisers to acting education commissioner Hanna Skandera. FEE, and, by extension, its donors, had great influence over New Mexico legislation. In a Jan., 2011, e-mail, Skandera directs a staffer from the legislature to forward all education bills to FEE’s Christy Hovanetz for edits: “Can you send all Governor’s office ed bill language to Christy, including social promotion?” Another FEE staffer, Mary Laura Bragg, wrote to Skandera, “I’m at your beck and call.”
• The foundation sought to make connections between Skandera (as well as the other Chiefs for Change) and the Hume Foundation for funds for digital learning projects from Hume that “must flow through the Foundation for Excellence in Education as a project-restricted grant.” The Santa Fe New Mexican reported Oct. 21 that Skandera had indeed applied for such a grant, which ultimately could lead to digital learning legislation favorable to FEE funders Connections Academy and K-12 Inc.
• The e-mails indicate that FEE paid for Skandera’s travel, reimbursing New Mexico $3382.91 for her expenses, including trip to Washington, D.C., to testify before Congress.
Is there a wager somewhere within the sitting administration, or a race between gov. agencies on how fast New Mexico dollars can be sent out of state?
Unfortunately, as we’ve already told you here, here, and here…Indigenous services from Film Production to Web Design and all those creative links inbetween continue to receive the proverbial SMACK DOWN from government agencies sending New Mexico Monies anywhere but here!
This time, your tax dollars are being outsourced to the far Northeast all the way to the land of the Cunucks, for the production of state anti-smoking ads. Fed-up filmmakers say:
“They’re at it Again…Much to our exasperation the State is again spending money on out of state production companies.
I don’t get it, wasn’t a front page story in the ABQ Journal enough to get them to spend our money locally? There is an anti-smoking commercial for the Depart of Health being shot this weekend with a minimal crew because they “can’t afford” to hire people on their budget. Really? They can afford to use a NY/Canadian production company. There is no reason why this money is not being spent locally.
We’re perfectly capable of doing our own spots. What’s it going to take before the Martinez administration stops shipping our money out of state?
To quote myself just a few moments ago when a fellow New Mexican sent over the news that a whopping $180,000 New Mexico Tax dollar payment has been APPROVED to go out of state, “ARE YOU FK’N KIDDING ME!?!”
From the state department who brought you a whites/light skinned casting call for a New Mexico commercial shoot, helmed by a Texas firm, produced by a California company for a $2M NM price tag comes the latest development to further New Mexico Tourism.
KRQE reports that the state Tourism department is again citing their own arbitrary ratings system to award our tax dollars elsewhere – this time to Missouri, the “show me state”.
“The department paid $180,000 to a Missouri-based company, MMGY, to redesign its decade-old website.”
Perhaps the underlying goal of this administration’s Tourism Department is to send as much New Mexico money out of state, employing hundreds of people anywhere but here…to encourage them to visit?
May 9, 2012
By Robert Redford
Actor, Director, Producer
The Albuquerque Journal published a prominently placed editorial on May 1 that was based on a recent story written by a reporter who, in fairness, requested an interview, on a short deadline, which I was unable to meet as I was out of the country. This editorial portrayed me as an unethical Hollywood interloper who, by inference, had made great personal gain from taxpayer money.
Nothing could be further from the truth. It’s time to set the record straight.
In February 2008, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs announced that it was purchasing the Los Luceros property. I was not even in the picture. Over some years prior, we had put time into requests from the Richardson administration on how our Sundance programs were conceived and run. That was the extent of it.
A year after the purchase the state requested that we explore whether or not there may be a collaborative model involving the property, which would result in providing programming with a focus on Native American and Hispanic populations in preparing them for careers in film and other aspects of the entertainment industry, which had been growing fast in New Mexico. It seemed a worthy goal, so we began meetings with the state.
Out of these meetings came a Memo of Understanding between Redford Enterprises, Cultural Affairs and the New Mexico Film Office. In May 2009, Gov. Richardson announced the collaboration.
The intent of this relationship was to create and expand training programs in film, arts and the environment at Los Luceros. This, he said, would enable Cultural Affairs to fulfill its dual mission of protecting the state’s cultural heritage, while supplying educational programs to benefit the people of New Mexico.
We began providing and collaborating on programs immediately, with most taking place at Los Luceros — writing and audition workshops, actors labs, directing, cinematography, production and economic development workshops. The highly regarded Sundance Native Program continued its labs and workshops, in New Mexico.
All of this education, job training and career building have been provided free, at no cost to any of the New Mexican participants.
These programs, agreed to in the MOU signed in February 2010, were the operating framework for the state-funded master plan and federally funded architectural designs, building renovations and new construction. The MOU provided for us a priority reservation use of Los Luceros via the Department of Cultural Affairs, and participation in a job-training program funded by the New Mexico Department of Economic Development and the New Mexico Film Office.
In late 2010, as state budget cuts appeared necessary, we were asked to amend the MOU in order to reduce the state financial commitment. We readily agreed. The use of state training dollars was dropped from the revised MOU that we, and the state, signed in December 2010.
This revised MOU became an issue when Gov. Susana Martinez took office. Mind you, it’s the MOU that drops a state funding requirement. We remained in limbo on many aspects of the relationship, and yet, we continued to provide programs at Los Luceros and at other locations.
As of today, Cultural Affairs hasn’t unequivocally said the department will honor either MOU. We were asked to obtain liability insurance, which was in process when they closed Los Luceros.
We continue offering programs in other locations and are exploring alternatives should collaborating with the state prove too political or impossible. I have a long history with the state of New Mexico and I love it here. I try to make a contribution as both a taxpayer and a citizen and will continue down that path with or without the blessing or cooperation of Martinez and her administration.
Don’t cry, kids decorate pics like this all the time…the software comes on their “baby iPads”.
As we’ve been covering for you since the original RFP was released back in August 2011, the then recently appointed face of the New Mexico Tourism Department was poised to launch a new brand of New Mexico to the world…One that perhaps would eventually lend locals the luxury of not having to explain that New Mexico is in fact a part of the continental United States, to everyone from Washington State to Timbuktu.
New Mexico may perhaps be best known as an extra terrestrial landing strip or that dusty land which one passes through en route to another destination, but brand new leadership handpicked and handsomely paid is now at the helm to “rebrand” New Mexico, USA. The rally cry chosen by our new leader in branding, State Tourism Director, Monique Jacobson, to entice the world over to make New Mexico their destination of choice: “Adventure steeped in culture.” Okay. First question, whose culture?
Next, putting the reins of representing New Mexico to the world in the hands of a Texas Co. were enough to ruffle more than just a few local feathers. When Job Creation is touted as being a top priority of the sitting administration, sending a $2M job to a neighboring, tourist destination competitor state was perplexing at best, especially taking into account the plethora of skilled ad agencies all over the home front who no doubt KNOW New Mexico.
Regularly citing a seemingly “gold standard” of criteria, that the Tourism Department herself/itself either devised or adopted, the Texas firm won out over the many locally based firms who applied, even over the few NM firms which allegedly made it into the “final round” of “scoring” despite their in-state “preferential” allowances. Vendor Inc. ultimately won the dough, and apparently unabashed contract, creative and casting control.
Herein lies either the genius or the critical downfall of a campaign that has yet to air, New Mexico is already making news; First in the few rumblings about the Texas award, then almost under the radar the contracting started to go out. Initially with the multi-state (CA, NV, TX, NM) staffed casting outfit based out of Santa Monica, CA, which sent out the campaign devised casting call…(Back to that in a hot minute).
First round of FREE ADVERTISING begins here, where in a state which had worked, and risen to world-renowned ranks as tops in film production the mighty Vendor picked California filmmakers to jet in and out of the state with their own crew to film a weather ravaged four day shoot. The story of “irked” local filmmakers and production houses went from viral to news worthy, then broadcast all around the country painting New Mexico as a state set to advertise themselves without much faith in themselves.
To today and into mañana’a news, as dictated by the aforementioned ad campaign casting specifications, we shall only be represented by the “light-skinned” and fit among us. By these standards not even the woman who is our top elected official need apply to appear in this first round of advertisements requesting that the world take a look at New Mexico as an “Adventure steeped in culture.”
Where New Mexico is already hurting in some circles as appearing steeped in gas & oil interests and enriching corporate culture (see SB9 tax veto here), we’re now a step further to the right to most, elitist/racist or just plain out of touch at best. Because unlike a feature or indie film casting call which may rely on scripted requirements for certain characters – this is destined to be a multi-million-dollar motion picture representation of our great state, broadcast to the world.
All excellent moves if subscribing to the old adage that “any press is good press”, or aiming to flagrantly fly insensitivity in the face of the majority of your product/state’s population, or if politically angling to shine a spotlight on our state leader’s already dubbed war on immigration – good show.
Click here for the adults cast as Caucasian or “light-skinned” Hispanics in the ad, as released by the contracted casting director.
This just in: Expect NM Tourism select, Vendor Inc. to be without comment on this debacle just as they seemed to be in this 2011 Super Bowl bust.
Special thanks to our media “partners” and certain “whispers in the wind” in covering these developments…
UPDATE: Vendor Inc. has issued the following statement to Gabriel Escobar of The Dallas News:
“The focus of our shoot was on showcasing to the country the many amazing experiences and adventures one can have in New Mexico. The casting call you referenced was for the role of “tourists” who could be coming from any number of states. This is the first of many spots which will feature the wide range of people who are drawn to New Mexico.”
-Tom Hollerbach, Managing Director and COO, Vendor Inc.
So, as the statement(s) would suggest, we’ve got it all wrong. The cast are not New Mexicans, they are tourists. Caucasian or “light-skinned” Hispanic tourists.
Perhaps they were actually making special concession in allowing local “lights” to be considered to portray the desirable white market…