By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
LAS CRUCES – Film Las Cruces has a new three-year contract with the City of Las Cruces to continue bringing film and television production to the city, and FLC has signed its first-ever contract with Doña Ana County to expand its work into other communities and locations throughout the county.
“The ball is rolling,” FLC Film Liaison Jon Foley said. “It’s time to capitalize on the moment. I think we are well positioned to do that.”
FLC has had a memorandum of understanding with the city for the past three-plus years. Its new city contract is a professional services agreement (PSA) that includes specific measurables of its success, Foley said. The city contract was approved by the Las Cruces City Council as part of its June 3 consent agenda.
“I believe in the (city’s) Peak Performance plan,” Foley said. The plan includes an evaluation of how all city departments and programs are performing.
The PSA is for three years, with $95,000 in annual funding, Foley said, along with an annual review.
Earlier this year, FLC signed a PSA with the county, which will provide an additional $40,000 in funding for the nonprofit. It also is a metrics-based agreement, Foley said, and will help FLC “to extend our resources to the entire county,” including its location and resource database, workforce development and school connections.
There are “so many valuable locations” for movie and TV production throughout the county, Foley said, including places like downtown Hatch and the Santa Teresa airport.
One of Foley’s jobs as liaison is to personally visit as many locations as possible so he can give a “cinematic vision” to interested location scouts and managers who could potentially bring a multi-million dollar film or TV production to the county.
“The sky is the limit,” Foley said. “I’d love to see 365 production days a year.”
More reasonable near-term goals, he said, include a movie shooting in the county every month and a television show coming here to film several months a year or perhaps the entire year.
When Clint Eastwood’s movie “The Mule” shot in Las Cruces for a week, it generated $9,000 just in lodgers tax funds for the community, Foley said. And that doesn’t count all the other spending cast and crew members did locally during that week and in pre-production.
Foley is a native of Las Cruces. He attended Hillrise Elementary School and was part of Las Cruces Public Schools’ media magnet program at Sierra Middle School and Las Cruces High School’s duel-credit film training program at Doña Ana Community College (DACC).
As a public-school student at New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute, Foley said he “took full advantage of everything Las Cruces has to offer film and media students.”
LCPS, NMSU and DACC do a great job of providing those K-16 opportunities, he said. One of FLC’s goals is to create more local opportunities for those students and graduates of CMI and DACC’s Creative Media Technology programs so they can live and work locally instead of having to move elsewhere.
FLC took a major step to enhance that partnership when it partnered with DACC to open Film Las Cruces Studios earlier this year in a 74,000-square-foot building at 2100 S. Valley Drive.
DACC pays the rent on the building with support from Cinelease, a national lighting and grip company, and New Mexico’s largest film union, IATSE Local 480.
Foley has also begun a mentorship program to provide additional guidance and support for two-three students each year who want to learn more about film and TV production. Foley said he prefers to mentor students who are enrolled in CMI or CMT, but it’s not a requirement.
FLC also has internships available. Check under “contacts” on its website.
With its memorandum of understanding with DACC for the studio rental, its city and county contracts and $6,000 in additional income, FLC’s proposed 2019 budget is $206,000, according to city documents. FLC’s office is located at 340 N. Reymond St. in the former Women’s Improvement Association (WIA) building, which is owned by the city.
For more information, contact Foley at email@example.com. Visit filmlascruces.com.
Mike Cook can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.