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New Mexico, the backdrop of ‘Stranger Things’, has reached the peak of production

New Mexico’s film and television industry hit a new high, with a record number of single-state video production companies receiving projects, including the Netflix series “Stranger Things.” Production companies immediately spent a record $855 million on movies, TV series and other media in the fiscal year ending June 30, New Mexico’s governor announced Thursday. Executives have been fascinated by New Mexico’s unique sights since the success of AMC’s long-running series “Breaking Bad” and the enormous increase in incentives passed by state lawmakers in 2019. Government spending in the sector rose 36% last fiscal year to nearly $627 million. Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham, a Democrat who is running for re-election in her first term, also said the increase in spending extends beyond big cities like Santa Fe and Albuquerque, thanks to expanded state incentives for rural and small-town film production. Local manufacturing spending in these outlying areas jumped more than sixfold to $49.5 million amid industrial growth, state economic development officials told a legislative panel in Las Vegas. Vegas, New Mexico.

It is not clear how much the corresponding film incentive will cost the state. New Mexico offers a rebate of between 25% and 35% on state video production expenses to help small and large filmmakers support their work. The stimulus payments rose to $148 million in 2019 and then fell to nearly $40 million for the year ending in June 2021. While the state’s general fund is flush with revenue related to federal pandemic aid along with rising oil and gas prices and production, other lawmakers have criticized cuts for too expensive. State economic development officials said talks began with lawmakers after the Legislature reconvened in January to assess the terms of the state’s film tax credit program. climate pollution emissions in the energy sector. For years, fiscally conservative lawmakers have questioned whether New Mexico can spend more on the film industry than the work it continues to do. But Lujan Grisham pointed to state data showing an increase in the number of hours worked in the sector and a new high in the number of film and television productions, which reached nearly 110 for the year. “Because of the work we’ve done to create a successful production environment and build a thriving base of talented local crews, film and television productions from around the world are funneling money into New Mexico communities, supporting our small businesses and creating thousands of jobs. new Mexicans,” Lujan Grisham said in a statement.


After the success of “Breaking Bad” and spinoff “Better Call Saul,” other notable recent productions in New Mexico include portions the fourth season of the Netflix series “Stranger Things” and AMC’s “Dark Winds,” based on the the mystery book series from Tony Hillerman and daughter Anne Hillerman.

Both Netflix and NBCUniversal have set up permanent production hubs in Albuquerque in recent years, adding to millions of dollars in investments and promises of more jobs.

Legislative reforms in 2019 opened up greater incentives to film production companies that demonstrate long-term commitments to New Mexico through a 10-year contract on a qualified production facility. Netflix and NBCUniversal have secured that “film partner” status that lifts the cap on annual production rebates.

Spending by the industry had been trending upward before the pandemic brought a halt to work due to public health mandates and industry protocols, resulting in a precipitous drop in 2020. As restrictions were eased, spending rebounded in 2021 as work ramped up.

Record-setting activity took place amid allegations of workplace safety violations on the set of “Rust,” where actor and producer Alec Baldwin fatally shot a cinematographer in October 2021. No criminal charges have been filed in the case and Baldwin has denied wrongdoing.


Rust Movie Productions has challenged the basis of a $137,000 fine against the company by state occupational safety regulators who say production managers on Western movie sets are not following standard industry protocols for firearms safety. The Legislature spent $40 million this year to help build a cooperative media academy to boost training for the industry. Economic Development Secretary Alicia Keyes said the academy’s headquarters will be located in Albuquerque.