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Action! Rail Yards will soon be home to New Mexico Media Academy

Academy will be a job training and development hub for expanding local entertainment industry.

Today, the City of Albuquerque, along with Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham and Central New Mexico Community College, announced that the Railyards will be home to the New Mexico Media Academy (NMMA). The academy is a collaborative initiative that will provide the local workforce with important skills to take on new opportunities in the growing film and entertainment industry.

"We’ve always had a vision that the Rail Yards would be the active heart of Albuquerque once again, and now that vision is becoming a reality," said Mayor Tim Keller. "This is the result of years of intentional re-investment. We look forward to having the New Mexico Media Academy be an active part of our community as coming generations of film professionals get trained right here at home for local careers."

“This project puts Albuquerque at the center of one of our state’s fastest growing industries,” said Lawrence Rael, Chief Administrative Officer. “The Rail Yards is so important to our city’s history, and now, it is going to be an essential part of our future.”

“Albuquerque has solidified itself as a great film city, and we know we have to keep developing our workforce to meet industry demands,” said Max Gruner, Director, Economic Development Department. “The NMMA will help ensure that local productions are staffed by local crews who have access to the highest quality training.”

“State and City partnerships like these are how we create transformative change for New Mexicans. Out students will be trained by the best-in-the-industry and on state-of-the-art technology to further cultivate the film and digital media workforce and holistic ecosystem we are building in New Mexico,” said Governor Michelle Lujan Grisham.

“For more than 20 years, CNM has been supporting the growing workforce needs of the film industry in New Mexico,” said CNM President Tracy Hartzler. “We’re honored to be joining the State of New Mexico and the City of Albuquerque in this groundbreaking partnership to increase New Mexicans’ access to high-quality training that leads to great jobs and economic growth for the film and digital media industry. By co-locating CNM’s film and digital media programs with the New Mexico Media Academy at the Rail Yards, we’ll build state-of-the-art training and production facilities that will maximize the public’s investment in growing the film industry and revitalizing Albuquerque’s downtown communities.”

The NMMA will be built in the iconic Boiler Shop of the Rail Yards. Once completed, the Downtown Rail Yards location will be the institute’s flagship campus, offering workforce training for careers in film, television, and digital media. Local employers, including Netflix, NBCUniversal, and 828 Productions will collaborate with NMMA to offer paid apprenticeships to give students direct industry experience. IATSE Local 480 will offer hours toward membership for students who complete apprenticeships to help springboard them into career pathways.

Across its two campuses, the NMMA will have cutting-edge tools for hands-on learning, such as:

  • traditional sound stages
  • volumetric stages
  • classrooms, offices, lab, post-production and flex spaces
  • industry-standard equipment and technology

The core curriculum was developed by a collaborative of fifteen film and media institutions across the state.

Albuquerque is home to about 2,300 union film workers and thousands of background actors, spanning the entire spectrum of age and experience. In 2022 alone, 69 productions were filmed in the city, with 484 filming permits issued in FY22. Albuquerque’s local businesses are also in on the action, with 176 of them listed as “film ready” vendors. Studio space is actively expanding in Albuquerque, with Netflix, Cinelease Studios, Hanover Studios, and the Journal Studios all offering certified studio space to accommodate growing demand. Over the last two fiscal years, film production spending has contributed $1.5 billion in direct spend to New Mexico, with a generous amount of that being spent here in Albuquerque.