LAS CRUCES, N.M. (AP) — Las Cruces may become the first city in New Mexico to offer financial incentives to producers that make films in the city as municipal leaders look to draw more projects to the area.
Just over 1 percent of film productions that took place in the state from 2002 to 2017 occurred in Las Cruces, the city’s Economic Development Department said.
Most film productions tend to shoot in northern New Mexico, including Albuquerque and Santa Fe.
To change that, the department proposed at a work session on Monday to pay 10 percent of “qualified expenses” to film production companies that spend at least $100,000 in Las Cruces, the Las Cruces Sun-News reported .
The proposed initiative would be an addition to a tax incentive already offered by the state that pays for 25 percent of film production costs.
“What Las Cruces is contemplating would put us on the map — certainly in the state, certainly in the Southwest,” said Jeff Steinborn, a state senator and president of Film Las Cruces, a nonprofit seeking to grow the film industry here. “This would actually give Las Cruces a national pop as a new hot film center in the state.”
In exchange for the Las Cruces tax incentive, film producers have to agree to disclose that filming is occurring in the city and include the city in promotion for the film.
Other requirements could include hosting an educational forum for the local film community and hiring a minimum of 10 local residents, not including background actors.
Television series and other episodic production would really benefit from such tax incentives because they could earn an additional $10,000 per episode if they produced at least five episodes in La Cruces.
Amy Lanasa, head of the Creative Media Institute at New Mexico State University, supports the proposal and said it could encourage graduates to stay in the area.