The New Mexico Film Office and Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced Tuesday that the film industry wages in New Mexico have reached a record high over the past three fiscal years. Recent filming in Rio Rancho and throughout Sandoval County have contributed to this increase.
“The efforts of my administration to create a robust film industry are paying off — and communities around the state are feeling the impact,” Lujan Grisham wrote on Twitter.
In addition to the filming recently in Albuquerque and the Santa Fe area, parts of an upcoming Netflix feature produced by LeBron James called “Rez Ball” were filmed in Rio Rancho. Parts of 2022 Netflix film “End of the Road” were also filmed on the Zia Pueblo in Sandoval County, and New Mexico’s only national network, “Reelz Channel,” filmed projects in Rio Rancho in 2021 and 2022, according to the New Mexico Film Office. Edit House Productions also opened a film studio in Rio Rancho in August 2022.
Film, television and digital media spending in New Mexico have reached $2.2 billion since the 2021 fiscal year, and the industry spent more than $794 million during the 2023 fiscal year. Outside the Albuquerque and Santa Fe areas, there was also a 150% increase in direct spending between the 2021 and 2023 fiscal years.
The announcement follows two other developments for the film industry in the past week.
The union representing Hollywood actors, SAG-AFTRA, joined the Hollywood writers’ strike on July 13. This is expected to halt film production throughout the United States, including 18 current productions in New Mexico.
Additionally, senior advisor to Lujan Grisham and former Director of Media Industries Development Eric Witt died on Monday.
“Without Eric’s leadership, New Mexico’s booming film and media industry would not be the success that it is today,” Grisham wrote in a press release.
Witt helped to created New Mexico’s first film incentive program, which led the state to where it is today in the film industry.
Former Economic Development Department Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes said that this foundation is strong not only in the metro areas, but in smaller communities throughout the state.
“Now we need to take this momentum and invest in our workforce so New Mexicans can tap into these opportunities, learn new skills and continue to thrive,” Keyes said.