Lujan Grisham plans film industry talk
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.