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Tag: Ann Lerner

Point Counterpoint: NMFilm Style

Posted by on September 17, 2012 | Comments Off on Point Counterpoint: NMFilm Style

POINT via Ann Lerner, City of Albuquerque Film Liaison:

The film industry is alive and well in Albuquerque.

We’ve seen a variety of film activity in the area this year. “In Plain Sight” finished Season 5, filming out at I-25 Studios and on location around town. “Breaking Bad” shot eight episodes of Season 5, and will be back in December for eight more episodes. “The Last Stand,” starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, filmed in Downtown Albuquerque in January. (Watch the trailer to see an impressive stunt across the intersection of Fifth and Marquette.)

And, oh yes, the largest movie being made in the world this year, “The Lone Ranger,” chose Albuquerque Studios as its home for offices and sets and built two western towns out by the Rio Puerco, filming here for months.

“2 Guns” just wrapped, “Lone Survivor” starts filming in October for nine weeks. Two other films will be shooting this fall as well.

Numerous independent filmmakers are making low-budget projects – from features, to shorts, to webisodes.

So why do people like to film in Albuquerque? Besides the 310 days of sunshine, no natural disasters, close proximity to Los Angeles, an easy-to-use film tax incentive and a strong film crew base, we have a world-class infrastructure of stages, equipment companies, suppliers and businesses relating to the movie industry.

And Albuquerque can double for many different location looks – we can be Cincinnati (“Wild Hogs”); Munich (“Beer Fest”); Mexico border crossing (“2 Guns”); Los Angeles (“Crash TV”); New York (“The Resident”).

But I think a large part of the reason people like to film in Albuquerque is because of the open reception filmmakers receive from neighborhoods and businesses and the administration.

We offer one-stop film-permitting. We recognize that filming dates may change due to weather or illness or some other factor and are flexible.

Our filming guidelines require production companies to limit the number of large vehicles in a neighborhood and provide notification of filming dates and times. We have a program asking productions to give $100 to the neighborhood association for each day of filming. To date, over $60,000 has been raised.

We respect the production companies and welcome them for bringing in new money and providing well-paying and creative jobs for our citizens.

Production companies respect our highly skilled labor force and willingness to allow filming in the area.

Our reputation is strong. The Film Office is busy reading scripts and leading location scouts for potential future work. We’re issuing permits. Our phones are ringing.

Thank you for keeping Albuquerque film friendly!

COUNTERPOINT via Jon Hendry, President New Mexico Federation of Labor:

Our film liaisons are a hidden treasure.

The hard work of such great people as Ann Lerner in ABQ, Jan Wafful in Alamogordo, and Lisa Van Allen in Santa Fe, along with a dozen others around the state who back up the New Mexico Film Office and do great work in their communities, is a huge part of our industry success. I believe that Ann’s excellent editorial in today’s Journal speaks highly of her office, her pride in the community, and the effect that we in film have had on so many ancillary businesses. Bravo!

However, I respectfully disagree on the state of the NM film business. When 50/1 wraps, there will be slim pickings for NM crews through Breaking Bad‘s final eight episodes. While Lone Survivor is trying hard to employ as many locals as they can, for technical reasons they have to bring in more crew than we would like in fields where we are not strong. Hopefully, that is something we can all address in the future. One film can’t carry more than 1000 qualified technicians plus actors, stunt people, drivers, PA’s, and the host of others who have come to rely on this business. Rumors of an eminent super-hero movie only help a little, since we know that the vast majority of key or best boy positions will not go to locals. While they may fill hotel rooms, rent cars, and buy lumber, these kinds of movies don’t always help the working crew. We can’t expect micro budget pictures to pay comparable rates or the benefits we need; that’s ok, bring them on, we appreciate them, but it’s not the road to full employment.

As well as things are going, the warning lights are also flashing, and I believe we’re reaching that critical area where we need to deal with these situations in the upcoming legislative session. After two years we know what works and what doesn’t. My suggestions follow. On most I think you’ll find general industry consensus and on others some dissension, but I think we’ll find some suggestions that the legislature can agree with and that will allow the taxpayers to feel they are getting a good return on their investment.

1) We need to return to the original legislative intent of $50 million. In order to do that we need a cost of living increase as we’re the only “capped incentive”. That is going to seem extremely moderate now but we need the protection for the hyper inflation that may occur and could basically wipe us out of the business. By doing so we ensure that in real dollars the $50 million stays constant.

2) TV series employ more New Mexicans in all facets of the business than anything else, and we need to give them the certainty they will get their money when they make a commitment to us which could be up to five years. I’m open to suggestions on how we do this but I think the way is to exempt them from the cap.

3) We need to make some technical changes in the language of that rather rushed bill that allows a rollover of unused credits that we can accumulate as we already have a substantial balance from the last few years and a payout of $50 million. There is no reason for it to be staggered if we have the money. Sitting on it doesn’t help anyone, especially the state budget process.

4) We need to set up a system that, when Tax & Rev has approved a rebate, picture companies can monetize this. I believe the private banking system can look at doing this. I also believe some of us in NM might contribute to a fund that would not only give a return but help us get more pictures and, most importantly, ABQ, Bernalillo County, SF city & counties, Alamogordo, and Otero County could look to their bonding capacity to help this occur. It would be very useful if we could put this money in to the project while they are still here shooting and spending money and not two years down the road when they are long gone. Alaska is looking at a cash flow model, private funds can move much quicker than governmental entities, but Tax & Rev would have to come up with a certification program.

5) Perhaps most controversially, I think we need to do much, much more to ensure that the companies generating the rebates for the production entities are NM based and the money stays in the state. It’s almost a game to figure out how to make out of state people and equipment and other purchases rebateable. We shouldn’t be asking Tax & Rev to play “whack a mole”. When we solve one issue another pops up and that’s not good. We thought the bricks and mortar requirement solved this but in some cases it made it worse. I want to be able to say with hand on my heart that we rebate no one from out of state and we keep the money here where it was generated and where it’s needed. Any perception that this is welfare for Hollywood isn’t good. This should be a legislative priority.

I’m open to other suggestions. What I can’t work with is a situation where on the top end we’re being squeezed by the amount of money we can put out and on the bottom end we are squeezed because these companies are employing fewer New Mexicans and spending more money with large chains who don’t pay taxes here or out of state companies are working through facilitators instate that help them get an undeserved rebate. If anyone else feels we’re doing sensationally well I am happy, after ensuring confidentiality, to share payroll figures with you – it’s not great.

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Bless Me Ultima, New Mexico Calling

Posted by on August 6, 2012 | Comments Off on Bless Me Ultima, New Mexico Calling

UPDATE 8/27/2012: A (*240 SEAT CAPACITY) New Mexico Premiere has been scheduled for Oct. 17 at the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival, details here.

 

After a dust-up surrounding the fully booked El Paso, TX world premiere of the New Mexico inspired, shot and beloved film, Bless Me Ultima, local industry insiders are talking.

Albuquerque Film Office Director, Ann Lerner says, “I believe they (the producers) were looking for an unbiased audience reaction to their movie – with an audience that was probably not so familiar with the story of Bless Me Ultima as all of us New Mexicans are. The story is quite dear to our hearts after all!”

Local crew and actors who worked on the production have been widely disappointed along with rabid fans of the literary work (by Albuquerque resident and iconic author Rudolfo Anaya), on which the movie is based, to learn that there is no local screening currently scheduled.

A rep for one of the production companies behind the movie, Monkey Tree Films, has assured locals that a New Mexico premiere is in the works.

State Film Office Director Nick Manianatis confirms to OHI, “We’ve been working with the producers in planning a cast and crew screening in NM – more to come.”

While local talent awaits their time to screen this passion project, Anaya himself has had a private viewing the film. The author had this to say to La Bloga:

The movie is excellent, it captures the story and characters. Every single person attending the screening gave it fantastic, positive reviews.

I am positive la gente is going to love the movie. Like my friend John Nichols said, a novel becomes a short story when turned into a movie. Don’t expect to see the full novel on screen. Everyone knows that.

Carl Franklin did a great job with the story and bringing characters together as familia. Except for Miriam Colón, the cast are actors that don’t have big celebrity names. I hope they do after their roles in the movie. Everyone did excellent work.

Carl Franklin, the director, did talk to me and asked me questions, but the screenplay is his work. I approved his work. Some themes in the novel are left out, but the story works.
Carl Franklin

I met the director several times here at our home. I was invited to play a role in the movie and attend all shooting events, but I stayed home. My feeling was to let them do their work. I don’t make movies.

I met all the actors at the cast party. They had only positive things to say of the process. Miriam Colón visited me here at our home. She is lovely, a perfect Ultima. Her face shines in the movie, so does Luke (Ganalon) who plays Antonio.

…the people will love it. Will there be critics? Of course. All art is criticized if only by responding to it. Let the people enjoy and judge. I feel confident the movie will be around in 50 years.

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NMFilm Futures:Local Impressions from AFCI

Posted by on June 20, 2012 | Comments Off on NMFilm Futures:Local Impressions from AFCI

Images via New Mexico Film Office / Montana Film Office

A message from New Mexico IATSE Local 480 Business Agent, Jon Hendry:

Having just returned from the LA Locations Expo, I have a few observations on where I believe we are going with our business here in NM. In LA, I also had the chance to talk to various people from around the country to confirm what I believe is happening nationally.

First, congratulations to everyone who attended the show and participated in the many events. Our Shoot Santa Fe partners reached into their own pockets to finance a booth, two parties, and several in-person meetings with possible clients, and they did an excellent job. Nick and Tobi from the NM Film Office along with Ann from ABQ, Jan from Otero County, and Lisa from Santa Fe did a great job at the NMFO booth which as usual looked spectacular. I can’t help but believe we had a large positive impact in allaying the many rumors I heard about NM’s demise. It’s just unfortunate that we only got to talk to the people who attended the show. Thanks to Santa Fe Studios and Santa Fe County for the full page ad in Variety which allowed us to reach a larger audience.

I had a frank discussion with a senior representative for a major studio and a production entity as well as a representative from one of our facilities about their belief that we need to rebate out-of-state crew members (particularly above the line) in order to remain competitive. It may surprise some to know that we have already done this on a couple of occasions for a limited amount of crew on major motion pictures. There is a provision whereby this can occur, but of course the taxes have to be paid and the circumstances have to be extraordinary. (On that note congratulations to NM Taxation & Revenue for auditing actors and loan-out companies to ensure they have paid their entire NM tax liabilities. It’s important that those of us who pay NM taxes know that everyone is being treated equally.)

If we were to expand our definitions… » Read the full post

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Guest Post: New Mexico Film Indie Style

Posted by on July 13, 2011 | 2 comments
AlbuquerqueArtFilmIndie FilmNMNMExposéYouYour Momma

Michael Palombo on NM Film

 

Guest Post
by Michael Palombo
Artist | Writer | Director | Producer | PMD
On the state of NM Film

Thank your for the opportunity to guest here on OneHeadlightInk.com and thank you to all who have given so much to the growth and prosperity of the New Mexico Film Industry, I say that with a focus on the independent film community and those who stayed.

About Me:

At 42 I’m a 30 year resident of New Mexico, published artist with an Associate Degree in art, design and marketing from “The Albuquerque Arts and Design College”.

I’ve been working in the New Mexico film industry since 2007, with more credits than I can think of (tried to keep up with my IMDB but what a hassle sometimes).

Now my time is focused on my own film projects and working to promote filmmakers on Twitter @FansOfFilm which has become one of the most recognized film profiles there is listed in the top 20 movie profiles on all of Twitter.

As far as I know I’m the only one promoting myself as local PMD/producer of marketing and distribution and social media consultant in the state.

I really got started on the path to film when I started making videos of my glass blowing, and posting them on a Youtube channel that I don’t really visit much anymore, http://www.youtube.com/beadmanglass. Some of the videos I know are at over 12,000 views.

That spiraled into getting involved in the growing film scene where my 1st experience was with the Duke City Shootout, a local film event that involved making a film in 4 days. Wow what a way to break in, I had no idea it could get so bad, upon the 3rd day of eating sugar from the limited craft services that was provided and taking way too much crap for working for free, I lost [it] and walked off the project.

The next year I knew what I was in for and ended up on the winning team with a credit for boom, the film was called “Food For Thought” written and directed by Will Hartman. Since then I’ve been working as a camera opp and now directing my 3rd short film.

For a more personal interview go to johnhoff3.com here.

My Opinion of some of the good and bad on the New Mexico film community:

Hollywood came into New Mexico in a big way when the tax incentives were good, as many as 30 films being shot around New Mexico at any given time, people that had never been on a set in their life were finding themselves on Hollywood sets doing things they had never done. Local business, casting directors, experienced and non experienced film people were making money, it was like a gold rush and people had the fever.

Well we know that story way too well here in New Mexico, the gold goes away and the native people lose their jobs, homes, businesses and do the best they can to readjust. There is a good side to this story and that’s that the miners, I mean film people that got left behind had talent and new found skills that they applied to their own lives and projects, which brought a lot of film people together and groups were formed like the IndieQ group, started by Ann Learner from the Albuquerque film office “thank you Ann”.

There’s an independent film movement here that has come from both filmmakers that were here before Holloywood and will be here after, and for those it’s a great time to be a filmmaker in New Mexico, as long as you know who the sharks are, “they know who they are” the ones that call themselves producers or filmmakers for the glorified title of it, just so they can get down some actor’s pants, targeting beginners to get projects done, project after project praying on new blood just so they can produce more crap and never doing anything great, but hey they had a good time playing producer or filmmaker.

You can still find great opportunities to break into the film industry here in New Mexico as more independent production grows and more indie producers get into the game for the right reasons, creating cool quality projects that display the talents of all involved with integrity and honesty.

These producers and filmmakers need more support from local investors, sponsors and the general public, because when Hollywood is gone, it won’t be coming back in any big way for a long time.


Michael Palombo
CEO at Fans Of Film, LLC
http://fansoffilm.com
Community fan site for the best of #Youtube & Vimeo filmmakers,
reviews, free full feature films and shorts! We are fans of online film.

Artist | Writer | Director | Producer | PMD
http://michaelpalombo.me
Bringing production and distribution together like never before.

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