New film backlot to attract major productions to Las Cruces

New film backlot to attract major productions to Las Cruces
Tuesday, March 25, 2014 - 4:24pm

Local and state leaders announced a new film set Tuesday scheduled for construction just west of the Las Cruces Airport and it should help in attracting various film productions to the area.

The Land of Enchantment is one of the more film friendly states in the country and attracts major film productions annually due to a $50 million a year tax credit.

"We're dealing with a film industry that wants to come to New Mexico," said District 35 Representative Jeff Steinborn. "We just have to give them what they need."

Steinborn, along with the ten other Dona Ana County delegates, asked the legislature for state funds to construct a backlot in Las Cruces at Corralitos Ranch.

Steinborn said last year about twenty films came to the State of New Mexico each with over a million dollar budget.

"It was $600 million impact for the state," Steinborn said.

But the Dona Ana County area representative said about 90 percent of those $600 million benefitted northern New Mexico with its four studios and backlots.

The new film backlot will help spread that money to the southern half of the state.

"When films come to your community they spend millions of dollars around town," Steinborn said.

That will in turn create jobs and stimulate the economy with production crews having to fill several needs such as food and lodging.

With challenges shooting in the winter in northern New Mexico, Dona Ana County is sure to see plenty of action with milder temperatures and plenty of sunshine.

"You're going to be busy between October through May because you can't turn the camera because you see snow in the mountains," said IATSE Local 480 Business Agent John Hendry.

Hendry said local film students will also benefit from the backlot and can continue living in southern New Mexico as opposed to having to seek opportunities elsewhere.

He said the backlot will be the hub of film along the borderland serving an area from the Big Bend all the way to Tuscon, Arizona.

"If you ever wanted to act, figure out how you can get on the set," Hendry said.

Hendry said he plans on bringing a pilot to the backlot once it's completed.

The money for the backlot will be made available by the state later this year and Steinborn said construction on the backlot could begin at the end of the year or early next year.

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