New Mexico’s booming film industry offers job opportunities for graduates



Film making in New Mexico is on the rise, much to the luck of recent college film graduates. With record funding spikes, direct spending backed by loans, and franchises set to continue to rise, University of New Mexico film graduates are poised to find lucrative work in the film industry.

“This is where the next Hollywood will be and I want to be there while it’s being built. This is perfect for someone like me who is looking for work in the film industry and easy access, and New Mexico is looking for a huge crop of young people to work in the film industry so they can boost the economy ”, Michael Madrigal, film student at UNM. noted.

Madrigal moved from Maryland to experience the many New Mexico movie benefits and was not alone. Current UNM film student Juan Gomez also came to UNM on a scholarship due to the better filming opportunities here compared to where he lived in Colombia.

In 2019, a total of 40 state-registered film projects were shot in New Mexico, which is more than double what it was in 2018. So far in 2021, another 30 have been shot. filmed around the state, although many more were planned and ultimately canceled due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“We are now one of the leading states in the United States for film and television, and we look forward to being # 1,” said Alicia J. Keyes, secretary of state for economic development. Santa Fe New Mexican in June after NBCUniversal opened a new studio in Albuquerque.

In 2002 . This would include a large number of new graduates from UNM.

“I came because I discovered Netflix and the burgeoning film industry here in Albuquerque… It gave me more hope that I could someday work on real projects,” said Ella Campbell, student in cinema at UNM, originally from out of state. student, says. “(The tax incentives) sound great to me. Providing jobs is very important right now, especially for creatives. “

Current incentives include a 25-35% refundable tax credit for most local actors and crews below the line, as well as free or discounted training programs to prepare future movie workers to work on a job. film set. There is a $ 50 million cap on credits for each project, but the majority of productions set in New Mexico fall sufficiently below the cap that credits and deductibles make provisions valuable for target projects.

UNM has partnerships with many movie studios in Albuquerque, which allows students to find internships and make connections through this avenue, according to the College of Fine Arts. website.

“Our alumni are successful at renowned institutions such as Lucasfilm, Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) and Telltale Games. Many are instrumental in the growth of New Mexico’s thriving film industry, home to “Breaking Bad,” “Better Call Saul,” and “Preacher,” “James Stone, chair of the film and digital arts department of UNM, wrote on the website.

In 2019, the average salary of a former student of the UNM cinema department was $ 21,964 two years after graduation, according to the US Department of Education. In comparison, two highly competitive film schools in America, the University of Southern California and New York University, have average alumni salaries of $ 29,557 and $ 30,952 respectively.

Although the New Mexico tax credit is not as high as that of California, the cost of filming is much lower and the New Mexico film industry has spent $ 623 million – a record number – on during fiscal year 2021.

“I came here because it looked like a pipeline in the industry. I like cinema. I want to do this as a career, and New Mexico will be the easiest route to what I want to do for the rest of my life, ”Madrigal said.

Natalie Jude is a freelance journalist for the Daily Lobo. She can be reached at [email protected] or on Twitter @natalaroni



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