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Pasatiempo - - CONTENTS - Grace Paraz­zoli I For The New Mex­i­can

Ac­tors in New Mex­ico

Ileft him at a Grey­hound sta­tion west of Santa Fe,” an as­pir­ing ac­tress new to LA sings in the 2016 film La La Land. She could have stayed put. New Mex­ico’s bustling film scene pro­vides many op­por­tu­ni­ties for ris­ing stars — and un­like the La La Land ac­tress, ac­tors here don’t have to sit in (or dance through) South­ern Cal­i­for­nia traf­fic. “In re­cent years, it’s been ex­tremely ro­bust,” said cast­ing di­rec­tor An­gelique Midthun­der of the lo­cal film in­dus­try. The New Mex­ico Film Of­fice lists 52 projects with bud­gets over $1 mil­lion for the 2017 fis­cal year, up from 30 in 2016. With re­gional op­por­tu­ni­ties, some tal­ented New Mex­ico ac­tors are earn­ing notable parts and gain­ing rep­u­ta­tions as ones to watch. New Mex­ico ac­tors ac­cu­mu­lat­ing im­pres­sive re­cent TV and film cred­its in­clude Lora Martinez-Cun­ning­ham (Only the Brave, Si­cario), For­rest Good­luck (The Revenant), Lau­ren My­ers (12 Strong), and Am­ber Midthun­der, An­gelique’s daugh­ter (Le­gion, Hell or High Wa­ter).

Ac­tress Mia Stal­lard has been work­ing since age five, when she was dis­cov­ered by a cast­ing di­rec­tor in Taos. Now twen­ty­one, she has worked steadily ever since, land­ing her first lead role at age eleven in the Santa Fe­filmed thriller In­hale (2010). Stal­lard’s re­cent cred­its in­clude the NBC su­per­nat­u­ral drama

Mid­night, Texas and the Net­flix Western minis­eries God­less. Both were filmed in New Mex­ico — Mid­night, Texas in Al­bu­querque and Las Ve­gas, and God­less in var­i­ous lo­ca­tions across North­ern New Mex­ico. “There’s so much heart to it,” Stal­lard said of the New Mex­ico film scene. “It’s just re­ally spe­cial — it’s all about com­mu­nity. Every­one kind of knows each other.” She added, “In New Mex­ico, it’s re­ally ar­to­ri­ented and re­ally com­mu­ni­ty­fo­cused, which I love.”

Like Stal­lard, Santa Fe-born ac­tress Morn­ingStar An­ge­line sees New Mex­ico’s artistry and com­mu­nity as be­ing essen­tial to its film in­dus­try. “In LA you feel like every­one’s kind of do­ing the same thing,” she said. “New Mex­ico, to me, is just a state full of artists, and film is just another branch of the many peo­ple who work in the arts.” Af­ter sev­eral years in Gallup, where she be­came in­volved in the lo­cal the­ater scene, An­ge­line moved to LA in ele­men­tary school. Though she was still in­ter­ested in act­ing, she said, “I was very much dis­heart­ened by the film in­dus­try in Los An­ge­les, and also more from a fe­male Na­tive Amer­i­can per­spec­tive, there were no roles for me.” An­ge­line is Navajo, Black­feet, and Mex­i­can Amer­i­can. “I was es­sen­tially asked to be dif­fer­ent races, things along those lines.”

An­ge­line moved back to New Mex­ico af­ter au­di­tion­ing for and get­ting a role in

Drunk­town’s Finest. The drama, filmed in Santa Fe, Es­pañola, and Gallup, pre­miered at the Sun­dance Film Fes­ti­val in 2014, and was writ­ten and di­rected by An­ge­line’s sis­ter Syd­ney Free­land, al­though much of the crew wasn’t ini­tially aware of the fa­mil­ial con­nec­tion. “I had no idea that [the film in­dus­try] was what it was out here, and right away I knew I wanted to try again, to try to act, but to do it in New Mex­ico,” she said. “I’ve been here ever since.”

John-Paul Howard has been work­ing in New Mex­ico since mov­ing to Al­bu­querque from Alabama about five years ago. At eigh­teen, he has al­ready achieved one of the big­gest mile­stones an ac­tor can aspire to — his act­ing has been fea­tured at the Oscars. Howard played the son of Chris Pine’s char­ac­ter in the 2016 Best Pic­ture nom­i­nee Hell or High Wa­ter; a scene with him and Pine made it into last year’s Academy Awards cer­e­mony broad­cast. Howard’s cred­its also in­clude Mid­night, Texas and the forth­com­ing hor­ror movie 14 Cam­eras. He too ap­pre­ci­ates the artistry of the re­gional film scene. “Here in New Mex­ico, we have our own kind of style,” he said. “We can be re­ally gritty and tough, as well as just spon­ta­neous and fun. We have so many cre­ative minds.”

Stal­lard, An­ge­line, and Howard are all rep­re­sented by Lynette O’Con­nor of the Al­bu­querque-based O’ Agency. “Over the years, pro­duc­ers and di­rec­tors have learned we do have an ex­cel­lent pool of pro­fes­sional ac­tors who re­side in New Mex­ico,” O’Con­nor said. “Pro­duc­tions bring in far fewer ac­tors be­cause they can find ta­lent that meet their re­quire­ments right here. This saves pro­duc­tion a tremen­dous amount of money on air­fare and ac­com­mo­da­tions.” Eric Witt, ex­ec­u­tive di­rec­tor of the Santa Fe Film Of­fice, also high­lighted the prac­ti­cal ben­e­fits of hav­ing skilled ac­tors re­gion­ally. “They used to bring a lot of ta­lent from out of state, but we’re gain­ing a rep­u­ta­tion for hav­ing more ta­lent lo­cally,” Witt said. “That qual­i­fies us for higher in­cen­tives.”

Midthun­der noted, “We re­ally work to keep our fin­ger on the pulse of who’s work­ing hard and re­ally fo­cused on build­ing their skill set and en­deav­or­ing to work pro­fes­sion­ally as ac­tors in our ta­lent pool, which be­hooves not only the ac­tors, but also the film pro­duc­tions that come in. We have a lot to of­fer them as far as ta­lent.”

Mia Stal­lard Morn­ingStar An­ge­line John-Paul Howard

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