“...Industry insiders said the state has lost millions in production this year because of the battle over the incentives, and the perception that the state has not been film-friendly….”
You don’t believe me? For months, The Pink Flamingo has been detailing the mess Susana Martinez, Tea Party Glam Girl of the GOP Darling, has made in the state, especially with the NM Film Commission. It doesn’t matter how idiotic the woman is, conservatives adore her.
“…But IATSE local head Jon Hendry, who backed Martinez’s gubernatorial opponent Diane Denish, insists that reverberations from the law change can already be felt.
“Fall is not looking great,” says Hendry, while taking a break from the independently financed mystery thriller “Odd Thomas.” “Everyone here is a little worried. People like certainty, and it’s kind of wait and see right now.”
According to Eric Witt, who served as Richardson’s media honcho and now consults for Albuquerque Studios, “We lost three films because of uncertainty and the rhetoric that was going around: ‘Lone Ranger,’ ‘Iron Man 3’ and ‘Oblivion,’ the new Tom Cruise movie.”
“Lone Ranger” was coaxed into coming back, thanks to lobbying efforts by the local industry, and “Iron Man 3” is once again considering New Mexico (after eyeing the U.K. as an alternative), but “Oblivion” is gone for good, and the industry remains cautious amid perceived political animosity from the new administration .
Although New Mexico’s 25% credit remains largely intact, Martinez has called for further cuts to the state’s incentives program (the state’s unique interest-free loan program, for instance, has been replaced by a standard market-rate offering). Still, few believe she will get any additional trims past the state’s Democrat-controlled house and senate given the estimated 8,000-12,000 people employed directly in the state’s film and TV business.
A former district attorney who takes frequent jabs at Hollywood and unions, Martinez has already downsized the state’s film office by cutting its staff in half. Director Lisa Strout ankled in January and has moved on to her native Massachusetts to take the reins of that state’s busy film office. Last month, former New Mexico Independent Power Producers exec director Nick Maniatis was tapped to replace Strout. He says resources and manpower will continue to be devoted to film, but with an eye toward attracting more episodic series, post-production facilities and endeavors related to digital media and the arts.
“My goal for this office is to help create long-term, well-paying jobs for New Mexicans in an industry that can sustain itself for years to come,” Maniatis says.
But Hendry says the film office moves and the six-month vacancy on the director post offer a clue to the governor’s priorities.
“She (was) in no hurry to fill that post,” Hendry says. “I think it’s going to be a long education process for (Martinez) to realize how important we are to this state’s economy.”…”
Granted, NM does not have the unemployment problems that Arizona has, but we have a serious problem with underemployment, very low pay, and poverty. Much of it is due to the problems of unemployment within the Native American communities. There are pockets where things are great. Los Alamos has the highest concentration of millionaires in the nation. Places like Ruidoso are dealing with about 4% unemployment. New Mexico is one of the worst states in the nation to open a business.
The jobs the film industry brought into the state were well-paying jobs. You would think with the GOP talking about jobs and tax incentives, building industry that our tea party governor would get with the program. She would have, probably, if the once booming film industry here in MN were not the brain child of Big Bill. Martinez has proven herself to be terribly petty, without a sense of humor, impressed with her own position in the world. The results, here in NM have been a fiasco.
“…New Mexico wasn’t so lucky. In January, Gov. Susana Martinez came into office vowing to drastically scale back the state’s popular incentive program, which had attracted such big-budget films as “Cowboys & Aliens” and “Terminator: Salvation.”
In the end, the state preserved its 25% tax credit and added a still-generous $50 million annual cap. But the damage was done.
“For first eight months of the new administration, nobody really knew what was going on, so therefore the number of pilots and (other projects) is way down from what it usually is,” says Lance Hool, CEO of the newly opened Santa Fe Studios. In the meantime, “the money for the rebates sits there, waiting to be used.”…”
What you find, for all the hip-hip-horah is a state that has been seriously damaged by a petty governor who can’t stand her predecessor receiving any accolades. We live in a state with very little industry. Susana’s buddies in Hobbs, in the gas and oil industry hold parts of the state hostage with their high gas prices at the pump. They have a monopoly in the eastern part of the state. With Jim Brewer giving so handily to Republicans, the average person gets screwed to the tune of about 25 cents a gallon. The film industry was one of the great things that was happening in this state. Martinez nearly killed it.
“…The longer you act the deeper your insight into yourself becomes. And those same principles apply to the Future of Film here in the great Land of Enchantment. The closer I look at the likely hood of open minded hugely successful film makers choosing to shoot here in NM the clearer my understanding becomes. Now don’t get me wrong there were some pretty dark days earlier this year as our Governor was looking to slash incentives which make our state irresistible to film makers. All in the name of what was believed to be in the states best interest, which is why I was so scared. But the closer Governor Martinez looks at the people and the lives Film touches here in New Mexico the picture goes from fuzz to HD. However there are more reasons than a boost in tourism or increased Lodging and elevated commerce that will keep the cameras rolling. We have more than several key elements here in New Mexico. We have state of the art sound stages, better than 1st rate crews, breath taking landscapes rivaled by less than few. And I like to believe some of the best talent this industry has to offer living right here today. And the one continuing enigma that has had film makers flocking to New Mexico since the 30′s… And that is the unexplainable, unmistakable clarity and quality of Sun Light. Plus it doesn’t hurt that NM is just a quick little jet ride form La La Land a.k.a. Los Angeles. So Lights…Camera… ACTION! And the Oscar goes to New Mexico….”
Let’s be honest about something. There is only one reason for Martinez to back-track on her plans. Someone has paid her off, beautifully. This is the second most corrupt state in the nation. It is a wonder Gary Johnson was able to survive here. Unless a politician has the backbone that the late Joe Skeen did, or the honorable decency of Steve Pearce, they are dead in the water, especially Republicans.
What is fascinating is how this story is being played. Jerry Bruckheimer has basically pulled much of his work from the state, moving it to Louisiana and Georgia because of Martinez and her arrogance toward the film industry and good paying jobs. Currently there is only one film being shot here in NM.
The entire argument that the Martinez Administration uses about putting this money back into education is a crock. Instead of streamlining the entire process here in the state, Martinez has brought in out of state “experts” to look into the problems schools are having here. She is paying out of state consultants big bucks, diverting federal funds that were to go directly to local schools into a bureaucracy she has created, top heavy with Ph.D.s who know nothing about the state.
It is about jobs – which are being lost because of Martinez.
“…Chris Ranney, owner of Gear Lust in Albuquerque, which rents lighting and grip equipment, said if things were on par with previous years, the state would have 10 to 12 projects actively filming (not wrapped or in preproduction). He is filling the slowdown with jobs as an actor, crew member and producer on independent productions, which are still taking place in the state but have smaller budgets. Producers will go for the best tax rebate they can find, he said.
Ranney and others said Louisiana’s film industry, by contrast, is booming. It offers a 30 percent transferable incentive for total in-state filming expenditures. The state had 140 production applications for incentives in 2010, according to Louisiana Entertainment, the state’s film office. Those spent a total of $898 million in the state. It’s on track to meet or exceed those numbers for 2011, officials said.
Serious Grippage and Light Co. in Albuquerque and Santa Fe, which opened in 1988, saw its best year in 2006, President Greg Eichman said. It has shrunk from 12 employees to four, he said. He blames the economy, since work in commercials and industrial films has declined. About half his clients used the incentives, he said.
Two years ago, Raks Building Supply told the Business Weekly that the film business was blunting the recession and the drop in construction. That’s still true, said Wes Young, sales manager, but the film production slowdown worries him.
“We’ve invested so much in inventory, and my butt’s in a sling if it doesn’t move somewhere,” he said. “I’ve invested hundreds of thousands of dollars to back the movie industry.”…”
This is before Big Bill decided to turn NM into Hollywood “west”.
Want proof of what Martinez has done to the state? These films/TV shows were in production while Big Bill was governor.
You can’t blame this fiasco on the economy. THIS is what Susana has done to New Mexico. Don’t you just love those petty and incompetent little tea party glam girls of the GOP?
It’s all about jobs. Susana Martinez had an opportunity to seriously help the NM economy and keep jobs in our state. Instead, she decided to be a pathetically petty little politician intent on making Bill Richardson’s film legacy look bad. What she has done has proven is what an abject disaster of a governor she really is.
To me the clincher is the fact that the woman did not know that her grandparents arrived in this country legally. She was so ignorant about her family history that she has made a fool of herself. With her pandering to the racist bigots of the extreme anti-immigration right, she has achieved something no other NM politician has previously managed to do: Increase bigotry against the majority Hispanic population in this state.
I may not be Hispanic, but I have many friends are. They have told me things are different since she took office. These are REPUBLICANS who have been subjected to anti-Hispanic bigotry here because of Martinez and her policies.
I hope the tea parties are proud of themselves.