NM Film Chief: New Mexico’s film industry is thriving

Created: 07/09/2014 6:33 PM
By: Stuart Dyson, KOB Eyewitness News 4

New Mexico’s film industry gets a glowing report card from the head of the State Film Office – the agency in charge of helping the industry grow and develop. Film Chief Nick Maniatis told state lawmakers in an Albuquerque committee hearing that the industry is “thriving”, with television leading the way in job creation.

Maniatis said a TV series can be even better for the state’s economy than motion pictures – if the series succeeds, it lasts longer and so do those good-paying jobs. Take Longmire for example. The A&E drama about a Wyoming sheriff is now in its third season, keeping a lot of New Mexico technicians and contractors and suppliers employed. Then there’s Night Shift on NBC, earning great ratings this summer with a longer run very likely. And there’s more.

“We’ve got Manhattan, which premiers later this month,” Maniatis said. “That’s about the Manhattan Project, a great script that I’ve got to read and I’m looking forward to it. We have Better Call Saul, which is the prequel to Breaking Bad.”

Maniatis said a new TV series will be announced in a couple of weeks. He said there are two pilot episodes that will be shot in New Mexico soon that may grow into two more series shows.

The industry did slump a little when the Governor threatened to cut back on a generous incentive deal for movies shot here, but after she signed the so-called “Breaking Bad” bill last year, increasing incentives for TV production, things bounced back even better.

“We seem to have overcome that,” said Sen. Phil Griego, a Democrat who represents a far flung Northeastern New Mexico district. “With the help of the legislature, with the help of the governor’s administration this industry will continue to grow. It will develop.”

The incentive program basically pays back film-makers 25 cents for every dollar they spend here. For a TV series it’s 30 cents on the dollar.

Meanwhile New Mexico’s legendary El Pinto Restaurant has signed an agreement with two media companies to develop a new reality show. It would feature co-owners Jim and John Thomas, who are identical twins. El Pinto has a 1,000 seat restaurant in Bernalillo County’s North Valley, and an on-site salsa factory. A pilot episode is set for shooting next month.

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