Yesterday evening, Congressman Ben Ray Luján of New Mexico's Third District joined producer Brent Morris as well as other local industry leaders and film students to discuss how to sustain and grow the local film industry that is a vital part of New Mexico's economy. Each panelist discussed their background area of expertise, followed by a panel discussion on the strengths of the film economy in New Mexico, areas for improvement, and how they envision the future of the industry. The panel took questions from attendees after the discussion.
"The film industry is a major contributor to New Mexico's economy and a source of good jobs for our communities," Congressman Luján said. "Bringing together various stakeholders to have a discussion about the direction of this important industry and the ways that we can strengthen it, including working with the high tech community to address online piracy, is essential to building a stronger economy with more opportunities for the people of New Mexico."
New Mexico is a growing production hub in the southwest. The film and television industry represents 3,268 direct jobs and $131 million in wages, including both production and distribution-related jobs. In recent years, production in New Mexico has included films such as The Avengers, Cowboys & Aliens, and The Company You Keep as well as TV series like Breaking Bad and In Plain Sight, among many others.
The panel discussion, which was held at the Center for Justice and Progress in Santa Fe, focused on how the New Mexico motion picture and TV community is a an important, vibrant part of the state's economy and included topics such as film school and workforce training programs, opportunities for growth in the local industry, the challenge of protecting creative content online, and the importance of incentives to grow production and support small businesses and industry professionals.