ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – While there’s new hope toward a possible end of the ongoing writers and film actors strike, thousands of New Mexicans remain out of work while the industry is paused. A local chile farmer is now trying to help those workers make ends meet.
“A conversation I had with one fellow, he’s very nervous and very scared about how he’s going to make his next mortgage payment,” said Rick Sanchez, head farmer at Garcia’s Punk Rock Chile Farm.
Since the Writer’s Guild Strike started back in May, thousands of New Mexicans in the film industry have been out of work.
“It’s been interesting actually pinching pennies and learning to save when I haven’t been,” said Brandon Marley, set dresser.
They’re all hoping for work to start back up.
“Other folks are thinking, ‘I’m just gonna go take a full-time job somewhere else just to make ends meet,'” explained Sanchez.
Sanchez, who has previously worked in the film industry, is no stranger to that feeling.
“I was very blessed to work on a lot of big features, Terminator Salvation, Avengers, but things with longevity were the Nightshift and Better Call Saul,” stated Sanchez.
Sanchez spent 12 years in the film industry before the pandemic shut everything down.
“I went into farming because I had nowhere because of the shutdown,” said Sanchez.
Now, he’s using his farm to help workers who are waiting for a restart.
“There’s a huge demand for Ristras, especially around this time. I figured, ‘Wow, what if I invited some of my film family to come and tie these ristras up, and then through the sales of the ristras, we can put money into these folks pockets,'” said Sanchez.
While he knows it isn’t much, he wants to do what he can.
“I figured it’s kinda a quick way to help put a few bucks in their pockets to pay some bills, put some gas in the car,” said Sanchez.
Sanchez hopes he can help fill a major gap in New Mexico’s job scene.
“It’s not hard. It’s just the first time I’m hoping they all stay together,” said Marley.
Sanchez said anyone from the film industry who is out of work right now is welcome to come down and get involved. Sanchez’s stand is open from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m. located at 8826 4th St NW.