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Albuquerque Ranked No. 2 Best Large City for Film in 2024 by MovieMaker Magazine

New Mexico wins big in this year’s 2024 rankings
January 18, 2024

ALBUQUERQUE – Once again, Albuquerque has been named to the top five “Best Places to Live and Work as a MovieMaker” by MovieMaker Magazine, landing in the No. 2 spot for 2024. Albuquerque has dominated the prestigious rankings for six years straight – four of those years consecutively at No. 1 (2019-2022). Since the magazine launched the list in 2001, no other city has earned the top ranking for four consecutive years.

“Albuquerque is a leader on MovieMaker’s list year after year due to the incredible resources and crew available to productions that choose our city,” said Albuquerque Film Office Liaison Cyndy McCrossen, who was recently awarded the Albuquerque Film and Media Experience Impact Award in recognition of her dedication to supporting independent filmmakers and the industry at large. “Albuquerque’s reputation as a North American production hotspot continues to grow as our city’s film infrastructure builds, and we look forward to celebrating more wins for decades to come.”

Albuquerque has made significant progress in fostering an attractive and sustainable film ecosystem over the past several years. In addition to the expansion of Netflix’s Albuquerque headquarters and NBC Universal’s downtown studio in 2021, the area’s portfolio of production infrastructure is expanding beyond existing spaces such as I-25 Studios. New stages include the recently converted Studios at Journal Center, the Hanover Stages, and other soon-to-be-announced sound stage projects.

“This recognition speaks volumes about our commitment to helping the film industry thrive in Albuquerque,” said Mayor Tim Keller. “We’ve invested in film and digital media so that people can enjoy what our city has to offer, like affordable cost of living, and still work in the industry they love. Together, we’re creating opportunities for future generations of filmmakers to thrive here.”

In 2023, the Albuquerque Film Office opened a new public-facing storefront at the Albuquerque Convention Center, in addition to receiving two awards from the International Economic Development Council. Along with the State of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College, the City of Albuquerque also celebrated the announcement of the New Mexico Media Collective at the Rail Yards.

The Film Office continues to add film-friendly businesses to its Community Resource Directory, which features searchable State-qualified film vendors in the area, from caterers and costume houses, to production services and drone pilots. In 2023, the Film Office also added a Sustainable Production Guide to its website, presenting a framework curated to help productions reach their sustainability goals. Finally, in order to better support industry workers during times of need, an Emergency Resources directory was created to aggregate useful support outlets on one easy-to-access webpage. 

"Albuquerque is again the top American Big City on our list of the Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker in 2024! We credit its incredible and growing film infrastructure, support from the state in terms of incentives and professionalism, a growing, very talented crew base, and the friendly personalized approach of commissioner Cyndy McCrossen. Albuquerque is truly a city where filmmakers can do their best work without the constant financial pressure of New York or Los Angeles — and some of the most stunning natural landscapes in the world. With Santa Fe, No. 1 on our list of Smaller Cities and Towns, it's one of the most formidable film corridors in the world," said MovieMaker editor-in-chief Tim Molloy. 

In fiscal year 2023, film, television, and digital media productions operating in New Mexico spent nearly $800 million. Many filmed in Albuquerque, including Nickelodeon’s ‘A Really Haunted Loud House,’ Season 3 of FOX’s ‘The Cleaning Lady,’ HBO Max’s ‘Duster,’ Disney’s ‘Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day,’ Netflix’s ‘Rez Ball,’ and A24’s ‘Love Lies Bleeding.’ The film industry in New Mexico now supports around 8,000 jobs across the state, and the median wage of a film worker is over $35 an hour.

New Orleans, Austin, and Vancouver followed behind Albuquerque in the top five in the Big Cities category, with Toronto landing the No. 1 position. MovieMaker compiles its annual list based on surveys, production spending, tax incentives, additional research, and personal visits when possible.

MovieMaker also ranked Santa Fe this year as No.1 and Las Cruces as #8 in its Small Cities and Towns category, supporting a regional commitment to the state’s booming industry.