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Albuquerque still attracts filmmakers

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ALBUQUERQUE, NM (KRQE) — Although New Mexico’s film industry has been impacted during the pandemic, those in front of the camera and behind the scenes continue to flock to the state, even putting down roots. Again this week, MovieMaker Magazine named Albuquerque the best place to live and work in the film industry, for the fourth year in a row.

Producer Michael D. Jones says it’s easy to see why. He’s in the business of making movies. “I’m an independent producer or a feature film producer,” Jones said. “Typically, as an executive producer, I’m the one responsible for allocating the budget, creating a budget, and basically tracking every dollar spent on and behind the screens.”

It’s a talent that landed him on the New Mexico Film Office’s radar. A few years ago, Secretary of State for Economic Development Alicia Keyes and Director of the Film Office Amber Dodson pleaded for him to move permanently to the state.

“They said, ‘we’ll get you a real estate agent, whatever,'” Jones said. “I came back and looked and decided to buy a house here in the Mesa del Sol area.”

Others are following suit. So much so that MovieMaker Magazine just named Albuquerque the best place to live and work in the industry for the fourth year in a row.

“It’s good. I love it here,” Jones said. “My perspective is I invested, I bought a house, I’m here, I just brought a movie here, I have others in preparation.”

The magazine cites the state’s various locations such as the mountains and the desert as various film locations. They also credit New Mexico’s proximity to the West Coast, being a short flight from movie meccas like Los Angeles.

“Everyone just thinks, ‘Oh, this is the desert.’ Well, there’s so much more to the state,” Jones said. “As I was driving, I was like, ‘oh, there’s greenery, there’s water, there’s cabins “, so there is a lot more. Just get here, see it and grow.

Jones chose a home in Mesa del Sol, just yards from Netflix’s Albuquerque Studios. But he says the convenience of getting around on the subway to other sets, being able to work from home and already having crews based here were huge selling points for others in the film industry – and he hopes it will spread.

“It’s great to be down here and see what’s going on,” Jones said. “If you come here and see what the state has to offer, I think you will be very happy and rewarded.”

Santa Fe also made MovieMaker Magazine’s list, ranking third in the small towns and villages category. Jones says some industry friends have moved there and even to Rio Rancho. Other top locations behind Albuquerque include Toronto, Atlanta, Montreal, and Boston.