Lu­jan Gr­isham plans film in­dus­try talk

Santa Fe New Mexican - - LOCAL & REGION - By Daniel J. Chacón

Demo­cratic gu­ber­na­to­rial can­di­date Michelle Lu­jan Gr­isham is bring­ing some star power to her cam­paign.

Lu­jan Gr­isham will join a hand­ful of Hol­ly­wood heavy hit­ters, in­clud­ing au­thor and Santa Fe res­i­dent Ge­orge R.R. Martin, for a round­table dis­cus­sion about the fu­ture of New Mex­ico’s film in­dus­try, which gen­er­ates mil­lions of dol­lars an­nu­ally for the state’s econ­omy.

At the Oct. 19 event, which will be held at the Jean Cocteau Cin­ema in the Santa Fe Railyard, par­tic­i­pants will dis­cuss Lu­jan Gr­isham’s “plans to en­sure New Mex­ico can con­tinue to at­tract in­vest­ment from tele­vi­sion and film pro­duc­tions.”

But the de­tails of her plans are still a work in progress.

“I don’t know the specifics off the top of my head,” cam­paign spokesman Vic­tor Reyes said Thurs­day, adding that an “over­view of what her vi­sion is for film, in­clud­ing plans and spe­cific, con­crete poli­cies,” will be re­leased be­fore the event.

In ad­di­tion to Lu­jan Gr­isham and Martin, the round­table dis­cus­sion will in­clude pro­ducer An­drea Med­itch, whose cred­its in­clude Os­carnom­i­nated films Man on Wire and En­coun­ters at the End of the World, and Tony Mark, ex­ec­u­tive pro­ducer of The Hurt Locker.

The round­table dis­cus­sion comes about two months af­ter Gov. Su­sana Mar­tinez an­nounced that the movie and tele­vi­sion in­dus­try had gen­er­ated a record $505 mil­lion in the past year, nearly $120 mil­lion more than the pre­vi­ous 12 months.

Reyes said Lu­jan Gr­isham, a con­gress­woman vy­ing against three other can­di­dates in the Demo­cratic pri­mary, “wants to do more to at­tract in­vest­ments than have been done” in the Mar­tinez ad­min­is­tra­tion. In the early days of her first term, Mar­tinez wanted to lower the re­bate New Mex­ico gives to qual­i­fy­ing TV and film pro­duc­tions from 25 per­cent to 15 per­cent, but her ef­forts failed un­der a Demo­crat-con­trolled Leg­is­la­ture.

“Over the last six years, Gov. Mar­tinez has stood in the way of the film in­dus­try’s progress,” Reyes said in the email. “In con­trast, Con­gress­woman Lu­jan Gr­isham is com­mit­ted to do­ing more to grow this in­dus­try and cre­ate more good pay­ing jobs by at­tract­ing in­creased in­vest­ment from film and tele­vi­sion pro­duc­tions.”

Nick Ma­ni­atis, New Mex­ico Film Of­fice di­rec­tor, said the state has seen “huge growth” in the film and TV in­dus­try un­der the Mar­tinez ad­min­is­tra­tion.

“I just don’t know how to rec­on­cile that state­ment,” he said, re­fer­ring to Reyes’ as­ser­tion that Mar­tinez has blocked film in­dus­try progress.

“I think the num­bers, the facts, speak for them­selves,” Ma­ni­atis added. “We’ve had three

record years in a row.”

Reyes said the TV and film in­dus­try is an im­por­tant is­sue not just to the state but to its ci­ti­zens.

“It brings in hun­dreds of mil­lions of dol­lars and thou­sands of jobs, so it’s ob­vi­ously crit­i­cal that we have this con­ver­sa­tion,” he said.

Elias Gal­le­gos, film and me­dia di­rec­tor for Martin, said Martin is a cham­pion of the arts who “be­lieves in help­ing cre­ate the bedrock of keep­ing our home­grown tal­ent here in New Mex­ico.”

“We’re all very ex­cited about Michelle’s po­ten­tial as a gover­nor and as a cham­pion for the film in­dus­try of New Mex­ico,” he said.

Reyes said Thurs­day that Martin en­dorsed Lu­jan Gr­isham in the race for gover­nor.

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