NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Not even a global pandemic could put a damper on the success of New Mexico’s film industry. The state announced Monday that productions filming in New Mexico spent more money in the state than ever before.

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Whether it’s the wild wild west or a zombie apocalypse, “New Mexico works for a variety of locations,” says casting director Shayne Hartigan. The state’s film office believes New Mexico’s landscape is just one of many reasons the industry here is booming. “This is a record-breaking year. We have broken all previous records for production spent here in New Mexico,” says Amber Dodson, Director of the New Mexico Film Office.

Monday, the film office revealed an estimated $623 million was spent by film and TV productions in the state in fiscal year 2021. The previously held record was in FY-19, where productions spent $525 million. “Studios were really looking to find new places to make content because not everything can be made in New York and Los Angeles,” Dodson says. 

Even though productions were paused for a quarter of the fiscal year due to COVID-19, the state still saw 69 productions since returning to set in September. “We are getting big shows for Amazon, for NBC Universal, for Netflix that are coming through which are hiring large amounts of people,” Hartigan says.

Dodson says about 40% of production budgets are spent on goods and services from local businesses. “To make the story come to life, you need all kinds of things – you need furniture and art and carpet and glass and cars, and that’s just set elements,” she says. 

Dodson also says the state’s generous tax incentive and proximity to LA are other reasons the state is more appealing than ever, and they expect the success to continue. “Looking ahead, our pipeline is busting at the seams. We’re really excited about it,” Dodson says. The film office also tells KRQE their COVID-safe practices are another draw for productions. Since returning to set in September, they tell us they’ve had a positivity rate of half of one percent.