Santa Fe New Mexican: Magazine:

Santa Fe a top city to film flicks 

Hooray for Tamalewood! 

Once again, a major movie industry publication has listed Santa Fe as one of the nation's top small cities for filmmakers, while also listing Albuquerque as the No. 1 big city for making films.

Moviemaker magazine, which bills itself as "the world's most widely read independent film magazine," last week published its annual lists of best places for filmmakers to live.

"Multiple Emmy wins for Netflix's limited series Godless this fall will only continue to bolster Santa Fe's reputation as a go-to locale for thinking Westerns after the similarly contemplative Hostiles, with Christian Bale, also lensed here before opening to acclaim," Moviemaker writer Ryan Stewart said in the article published last week.

"Add to that the Coen brothers Western anthology, The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, and there's a trend forming," Stewart continued. "Even a simple cowhand can appreciate a refundable tax credit of up to 30 percent and a small-budget-friendly lack of minimum spend."

Savannah, Ga., and New Orleans ranked ahead of Santa Fe. Moviemaker's "small cities and towns" list is for communities with populations less than 400,000.

As for, Albuquerque, Stewart noted that the state's largest city has attracted more than 50 major productions in the past three years.

Eric Witt, who heads the Santa Fe Film Office, said Monday that this is the fourth year in a row that Santa Fe has been in Moviemaker's top five small cities.

"It's obvious it's not just a flash in the pan," he said.

Witt, like the magazine, gave much of the credit to the state's rebate program, which he helped implement when he was a top aide in former Gov. Bill Richardson's administration. "It was well-designed from the get-go and now the film industry is one of the fastest-growing sectors of economic development in the state," he said.

The state offers movie companies a 25 percent tax rebate for most in-state expenditures, and an additional 5 percent for long-running television programs. Since 2011 there also has been a $50 million cap on how much money can be spent this year.

Rep. Antonio "Moe" Maestas, D-Albuquerque, has said he intends to introduce a bill to get rid of the cap. Maestas said Monday he's still working on the bill.

Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in her State of the State address last week referred to the "poorly designed cap" and said her administration will "build a smarter system to ensure we keep New Mexicans working. ... Because I want Hollywood to hear me, I want talented young New Mexican writers, producers and actors to hear me, I want movie-makers across the globe to hear me: We are open for business, bring your cameras."

By Steve Terrell

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