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‘The cleaning lady,’ Netflix and other big players keep New Mexico production on the growth curve

The movie and television tax credit that put New Mexico on the map is now nearly two decades old. Launched in 2003, it not only transformed the manufacturing landscape in the Land of Enchantment, along with a new tax credit in Louisiana, the state also ignited a national incentive arms race that created vibrant industrial centers across the country and changed the way which projects are financed.

Today, New Mexico offers a base 25% refundable tax credit that can go as high as 35% when other increases are taken into account. For example, productions can get an additional 5% by filming at one of the state’s 15 qualified production facilities, an offer the state would not have been able to make in the early days of the incentive, when productions seeking soundstages typically had to settle for an abandoned warehouse or factory.

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The good news for New Mexico, and the bad news for some visiting productions, is that many of the major soundstage complexes now have full-time occupants.

In 2018, Netflix bought then-11-year-old ABQ Studios, located six miles south of downtown Albuquerque, for around $30 million. The streamer went on to spend more than $250 million on production in the state between 2019 and 2021 for projects including “Stranger Things,” “End of the Road,” “Army of the Dead” and “Daybreak,” creating more than 5,000 cast and crew jobs, and has committed to spending an additional $1 billion over the next few years.

“The choice of New Mexico as one of his production centers by one of entertainment’s disruptive revolutionary leaders has put us on the map for everyone else,” says Amber Dodson, director of the New Mexico Film Office. “It was a game changer.”

Other studios have followed in the wake of Netflix. Last year, NBCUniversal transformed a disused beer and wine distribution warehouse in northeast Albuquerque into an 80,000-square-foot building. study. In August, it was announced that California-based 828 Prods. had agreed to invest $75 million to build a 300,000-square-foot building. studio and 20-acre lot in Las Cruces, where productions will qualify for an additional 5% tax credit for filming in a designated rural filming area.

Netflix, NBCUniversal and 828 Prods. all made 10-year commitments to the state of New Mexico. The studios have agreed to meet job creation and production spending benchmarks (in NBCUniversal’s case, that’s $500 million over the next 10 years and 330 full-time equivalent jobs) and, in return, are eligible to receive the Local Economic Development Law. (LEDA) and the number of tax credits they earn are not capped or counted toward the incentive’s $110 million annual cap.

Direct production spending in New Mexico reached a record $855.4 million in fiscal year 2022, up 36% year-over-year from 2021. The state has also benefited from the spillover effects of film and television tourism, which has inspired bikers and RV Tours of “Breaking Bad” and “Better Call Saul” locations.

Netflix is ​​further helping that cause with Netflix in Your Neighborhood, a website launched in September that shows filming locations for its projects in New Mexico, from the Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad (“The Harder They Fall”) to the track. of Skate-O-Mania skating. in Albuquerque (“Stranger Things”).

While New Mexico is best known for its arid southwestern aspect, it also has a portion of the Rocky Mountain range and miles and miles of grassy plains. In the Fox series “The Cleaning Lady,” Albuquerque not only depicts the show’s main setting, Las Vegas, but also more exotic locales, including a storm-flooded street in Manila.

“Honestly, there are a lot of great places in Albuquerque,” ​​says the show’s creator and executive producer, Miranda Kwok. “We also have the Albuquerque sunrises and sunsets, which are extraordinary.”

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