Film Incentives: How Does New Mexico Compare?

The New Mexico film industry is coming off another banner year with direct spending of $855.4 million for the state and a record 109 productions in fiscal year 22.

Of course, everyone wants their piece of the pie.

In early July, New Mexico’s neighbors to the west – Arizona – approved Arizona’s film production program. The Film and Television Tax Incentive provides productions with up to $75 million per year in 2023. It will then increase to $100 million in 2024 and $125 million in 2025.

Arizona hopes to pull productions from California and New Mexico with the latest push.

The bill requires the use of qualified production facilities in Arizona, as well as pre-production and post-production in the state. Plans are underway for new facilities in Buckeye and Scottsdale, Arizona.

Arizona joins California, New York, Illinois, Georgia, Louisiana, Oklahoma and New Jersey as states that compete with New Mexico.

As the New Mexico Film Office continues to attract productions to New Mexico, state leaders said they welcome Arizona into the mix because there are enough productions for everyone.

Amber Dodson, director of the New Mexico Film Office, says more states are looking to New Mexico for ideas because they see the model is a success for the state.

“Thanks to Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham, SB2 was a forward-thinking initiative that inspires production companies to not only film in the state, but to participate in building a year-round ecosystem for the industry” , Dodson said, referring to the measure. the governor signed in 2019 that offered film companies incentives to collaborate with New Mexico through longer-term partnership agreements. “This includes investment in studios/stages as well as pre- and post-production facilities. This includes contributions to workforce development programs and a long-term footprint in New Mexico to that the families who live here can count on the work of industry for economic security, to raise a family, to buy a house.

The New Mexico Film Office works to educate the community, lawmakers and stakeholders about the immense economic impact of incentivizing movies, Dodson said. She added that there was still work to be done.

“One thing we’ve discovered recently is that New Mexico doesn’t have the best incentive, or the lowest,” Dodson said. “We are somewhere in the middle. We must continue to develop our workforce, physical infrastructure and industry relationships if we are to continue to be competitive.

Building the NM Talent Pool

The state offers programs to help new Mexicans get involved in the film industry.

The Film Office has worked with Stowe Story Labs to offer a tailored screenwriting program for New Mexican writers.

By the end of the six-month program, these writers will have a ready-to-use screenplay and a solid foundation of screenwriting and how to break into the industry.

“Nurturing our talent above the line is critical to transforming New Mexico from a film location into an end-to-end film, television and digital media ecosystem,” Dodson said. “We plan to continue the NMFO/Stowe partnership and other above-the-line talent programs.”

The game changer for New Mexico is the recently announced Next Generation Media Academy, which will be hosted in Albuquerque and have a satellite location in Las Cruces. The academy will offer 15 post-secondary film and media programs.

“The NGMA will be the epicenter of training below the line and is in conjunction with existing film and media programs statewide,” Dodson said. “It is possible that over the line training will be offered in the future.”

Finally, NBCUniversal offers an annual director shadowing program, in which a New Mexico resident is chosen from many applicants to shadow a director or showrunner in one of NBCUniversal’s television series currently in production in New Mexico. Mexico.

“These kinds of opportunities can open doors for aspiring and up-and-coming directors living here in New Mexico, completely transforming the trajectory of their careers,” Dodson said.

The film industry brings jobs to the state. Once a production is closed, there are often tangible benefits for the state.

“We’re all familiar with the ‘Breaking Bad’ tours in Albuquerque, but now we’re seeing interest in ‘Stranger Things’ tourism,” Dodson said. “’Oppenheimer’ and ‘Dark Winds’ should bring new interest to tourism in Los Alamos and the Navajo Nation.”

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