When will New Mexico’s film and TV industry get back on track?
ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — We’re getting a better idea of when New Mexico’s film and TV industry will be able to bounce back after SAG-AFTRA, the actors’ union, officially agreed to a deal earlier this week to end a months-long standoff.
Strikes by writers and actors paralyzed the industry, stopping nearly all work for almost four months.
Activity has slowly picked up after a tentative deal about a month ago, though many projects lost steam during the strikes.
Multiple people KOB 4 spoke with for this story said they believe activity will be back in full force in New Mexico in January, and it won’t be at full health until the middle of next year.
But resuming any work is sparking optimism.
“Fantastic. We are all thrilled to get back to work,” said Talia Pura, the Board President of the New Mexico chapter of SAG-AFTRA. She has spent years in the film and TV industry as an actor and in many other roles.
“It is really going to be moving fast and it’s going to be furious. We’re going to have a lot of action on the ground,” she said.
The work stoppage affected thousands in our state. Many people had to get other jobs, and some applied for unemployment benefits.
“There’s also the SAG-AFTRA foundation that was really helpful to people who were in dire straits,” Pura said.
Pura praised the agreement with the production companies, which includes higher pay.
“It is very, very good for us. Over $1 billion in wages,” she said.
But 1 in 5 union members who voted on the deal voted no. Many believed the protections against artificial intelligence should have been stronger.
“There would be those people who would like AI to go away and just say, ‘The union ought to have stayed strong and we should get rid of AI. We should not allow AI to be a part of the industry at all,’ but that’s just not realistic,” Pura said. “The best we can do is talk about it and set up some guardrails, and I feel that this contract really does that.”
Under the agreement, no one will have their image captured for AI unless they agree to it. If they do, its use is limited, and they still get paid the same.
“I feel there is a lot of positivity surrounding this new contract among the members in New Mexico,” Pura said.