Film production could soon begin again in New Mexico

Coronavirus New Mexico

NEW MEXICO (KRQE) – Film production could be coming back to New Mexico soon. After an almost five-month hiatus, crews are ready to get back to work.

“A lot of us were looking at 2020 as being our biggest year,” said Justin Engel, a sound mixer who works in the New Mexico film industry. His expectations have not been met though. During the fiscal year 2019, the film industry brought in half a billion dollars of direct spending into the state. That number is down nearly $200 million so far this year.

In April, the Economic Development Department Secretary said, although there’s been a dip in revenue, they expect a strong comeback. “Our film office is actually seeing more calls than ever,” said Alicia Keys.

Now there’s some buzz that filming in New Mexico could be starting again soon.

“Seems like there’s a few things getting ready to go into pre-production right now, which puts us about a month out from actually shooting,” said Engel. The New Mexico Film Office says media and construction have always been considered essential in the public health order but was put on hold nationally until safety guidelines were created.

The Screen Actors Guild recently released their rules for staying safe during the pandemic. “We have to stick to those safety guidelines, they’re very strict,” said Lane Luper, a camera operator. The guidelines limit the number of crew members who can be on set and have contact with the actors.

All crew members will also be required to wear face masks and be tested regularly. “Frequent testing is going to be a thing, anywhere from one to three times per week,” said Luper.

The New Mexico Film Office released its own set of COVID safe guidelines including wearing a mask, practicing social distancing, and daily health screenings at work.

New Mexico Economic Development Department released a statement Wednesday about film production in New Mexico:

The media and the construction industry have always been deemed essential and the film industry is considered part of these sectors, so limited work is allowed under the Public Health Order with COVID-safe and industry-specific health and safety practices as well as capacity and gating restrictions.

Film and television has been on hold around the United State until the industry was able to establish a safe way forward. Many studios now have a proper plan that will align with New Mexico’s COVID-Safe practices and we will most likely see productions coming soon to New Mexico when public-health conditions are safe enough to warrant a more robust resumption of productions.”

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