Tamalewood?

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It all started with a short, one-minute film, called “Indian Day School.” That was the first step in New Mexico’s very successful film industry. Since then, it’s grown to be a huge business, second only to Los Angles’ very highly esteemed Hollywood. In fact, it’s dubbed the title of “Tamalewood” by local newspapers. The Chief Operating Officer of the New Mexico Industry says that one day soon, New Mexico will be the first call for people who are leaving L.A.

The positives of a film industry are bountiful in most every way. With the installation of production studios such as I-25 Studios, Albuquerque Studios, the New Mexico Film Office, and other companies, thousands of jobs have been created—in 2007, it created 2,220 direct jobs. These direct jobs created jobs in other industries, creating a total of 3,829 jobs. That’s more than enough for at least six different major films going on at one time. In addition to all of the jobs, there’s the 25% tax rebate to look forward to that Governor Bill Richardson put into place while he was in office. Also, on top of all of that, there’s always the positive of the influx of people—whether that be actors, actresses, directors, make-up artists, prop managers, ‘go-fors’ or whatever else—they have to have a place to stay and food to eat. That means more money flowing through New Mexico’s businesses. The New Mexico Film Office is also a ‘green’ organization, encouraging “environmentally sensitive film and television production.”

But, as with everything, there is always a negative. There are some people, such as New Mexico’s current governor Susana Martinez, who strongly believes that the 25% tax rebate is much too high and should be lowered. The aforementioned suggests that it should be 15%. Again in the opinion of many, moviemaking is simply a waste of resources. You can imagine the large amounts of spending that are put into each and every project—from costuming to wood and metal for props and sets, and even the amount of oil that is used to truck things from place to place. And, as wherever you are, more people equal more traffic.

The film industry is quickly becoming New Mexico’s largest and most influential industry. With twenty-one major productions taking place here in 2011 alone, and over one-hundred-sixty since 2003, it is clear to see that fact in action. There have been 181,366 worker days in this year, and over 1,100,000 since 2003. New Mexico has had more than its fair share of award-winning movies, such as Oscar-winning “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid,” the top-grossing hit of 1969. Also on this star-studded list is a more recent adaption of the bestselling book “True Grit,” which itself was nominated ten times for an Academy Award. Though not award-winning, other favorites have been filmed on new Mexico soil as well: “Wild Hogs,” “Lemonade Mouth,” “Men Who Stare at Goats,” “Mall Cop,” “The Avengers,” and the “Transformers” movies, just to name a few. Due to the “Wild Hogs” movie’s big success, a large amount of tourism has begun in Madrid, the town in New Mexico where it was filmed. The industry hopes that one day this will be the case with all of the filming locations around New Mexico.

There is no doubt about it—the film industry is only going to get bigger. And when it does get bigger, there will be millions of dollars floating around in the midst of it. That will help the economy regulate, going through local businesses in the area. Some believe that this could finally get New Mexico out of the recession that’s been taking place. The film industry is always hiring—extras, crew workers, financial advisers—that gets people out of their slump and into a world of possibilities, where they can earn money for themselves and for their families, maybe even picking up some valuable skills along the way. So who knows? Maybe this “Tamalewood” thing has something going for it.





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