New Mexico’s Legislature jump-started the media industry in 2003 with film incentives.
Since 2003, the film industry has quickly expanded from the occasional production company shooting films to frequent film projects. A home-grown industry of production facilities, game developers, and applications of media and gaming technologies for military and medical uses are all developing.
“New Mexico has led the way in film tax legislation, becoming a model for others to follow,” wrote the Hollywood Reporter in 2005.
What Media Industries Professionals Say
“New Mexico has a fantastic future… Other states can match incentives. They can’t match our pace. We’ll beat them because of our pace and the brain trust that’s here.” – Chris Kientz, animator, producer, educator
“What we’re doing in New Mexico is expanding our base of operations to take advantage of skills that are here.” – Pete Rogina, WorldScape
In 2004 Gov. Bill Richardson launched the New Mexico Media Industries Strategy Project (MISP) to help establish New Mexico as a center of excellence and innovation in media arts and sciences. MISP subsequently awarded $3 million to the University of New Mexico to create the Art, Research, Technology and Science (ARTS) Laboratory. The lab’s mission is to become a catalyst in education and research. Recently the ARTS Lab started a series of courses on computer games and interactive simulations.
CNM’s Workforce Training Center, in cooperation with the New Mexico Film Alliance, has launched a fast-track program in film production designed to give students hands-on training as film crew technicians. The New Mexico Film Alliance includes CNM, the City of Albuquerque Film Office, Digital Filmmaking Institute, International Cinematographer Guild, New Mexico Film Office, and IATSE Local 480.
UNM Continuing Ed offers classes in filmmaking, animation, production, screen writing, many through the new ARTS Lab.
Media Industries Assets
In late 2005 the UNM ARTS Lab opened the Digital Media Garage, an interdisciplinary space that serves UNM’s Arts Technology Center, ARTS Lab and Center for High Performance Computing. The garage includes an experimental multi-projector dome, visualization-perception lab, experimental black-box studio with a full-corner green screen, a motion-capture system, rendering and animation hardware and software, and an advanced lighting system.
DomeFest, at LodeStar Astronomy Center in the New Mexico Museum of Natural History, is the only known festival for immersive digital dome theaters and planetariums, better known as fulldome.
The Duke City Shootout(formerly DigiFest Southwest), started by Albuquerque’s Digital Filmmaking Institute, was the first festival in the world to focus on digital production. Participants must produce, shoot, edit and premiere their film in only seven days.