The dusty desert landscapes of New Mexico have provided the perfect backdrop for Hollywood Westerns, but the state also has served as a filming location for everything from drug-dealing drama "Breaking Bad" to sci-fi mystery "Stranger Things."
New Mexico’s role in the television and film business came into the limelight last week when cinematographer Harina Hutchins was shot deadly on a Western set filmed at Bonanza Creek Ranch on the outskirts of Santa Fe. Actor Alec Baldwin has been fired.
Rust is just one of many projects filmed in the state and has become Hollywood’s leading hub by offering producers a generous 25% to 35% refund tax credit. NBC Universal of Netflix Inc and Comcast Corp have set up a production studio in Albuquerque.
A pool of experienced workers helped attract Hollywood to the state, says filmmakers and television executives. According to the New Mexico Film Office, about 9,000 people in New Mexico work in the industry, with an average salary of $ 56,000.
Set decorator Bill Horn, who has worked on the Paramount Pictures projects at Netflix, Sony Corp and Viacom CBS Inc, has witnessed expansion in recent years.
When he joined the Local 480 Branch of the International Alliance of Theatrical Film and Theater Trade Unions (IATSE) more than 10 years ago, it had less than 600 members. Currently, he said it has more than 1,500 members.
“It’s growing big,” said Horn, who is currently working on the Fox drama “The Cleaning Lady.” He said local educational options for professional film productions expanded and new apprenticeships were discussed. “We are pretty desperate for training,” he said.
Other projects underway in the state include the Netflix series “Trigger Warning” and “Dead Forderer,” starring Christoph Waltz, Willem Dafoe, and Rachel Brosnahan. According to state statistics, 48 films and television shows were produced in New Mexico in September.
Spending on film and television production reached a record $ 623 million in the state from July 2020 to July 2021, the Films Division said. Some politicians are dissatisfied with offering tax cuts to Hollywood companies.
The camera keeps rolling
Bonanza Creek Ranch, where the filming of “Rust” was interrupted, has been used as a Hollywood stage for decades since Jimmy Stewart’s “The Man from Laramie” in 1955 and “Butch Cassidy and Sundance Kid” in 1968. I have come.
The vast grounds have five different sets, including an old western-style salon, a blacksmith, a station, 24 towns with barns, and free-walking cows.
Recent works included last year’s Tom Hanks movie “This Vague”.
The day after the “rust” accident, the camera was spinning to shoot a night scene on the ranch for another project. The site also offers movie-related tours and rental options for private parties and corporate retreats.
Besides the ranch, there are many sound stages in the area. Netflix operates one of the largest after AMC Networks acquired Albuquerque Studios, which filmed “Breaking Bad” in 2018. Two years later, Streaming Giant announced that it would expand the facility and promised to spend $ 1 billion on production in the state.
Since the “rust” tragedy, the media has reported dissatisfaction with the working conditions of the set. People involved in other projects in New Mexico said the set always adhered to strict safety and security protocols and was stunned about how the shootings took place.
“We have everything in place to prevent this from happening. There is no reason for this,” said Jesse Cassias, who makes the set.
Actor Jon Hamm, who is filming in nearby Belem, said he and his “Mad Men” co-star John Slattery attended the alert “to support our community.” I did. Slutary, who directs the new film, said his crew members were close friends with Hutchins.
Others said they felt lost, even though they were not directly related to Hutchins. “It’s a sad day for everyone,” said Set Decorator Horn. - Reuters
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