Written by on Feb 23, 2015. Posted in Incentive News

Location Manager highlights importance of New Mexico filming incentives

New Mexico is the most popular US filming location for desert landscapes, but an experienced Location Manager has reiterated the importance of its filming incentives. Rebecca ‘Puck’ Stair has worked on movies including Johnny Depp’s The Lone Ranger and action drama 2 Guns.

“[For] any script with desert or aridity, New Mexico is the best choice,” Stair told the Santa Fe New Mexican, “but if Arizona had incentives, they would be doing it all in Arizona.”

New Mexico offers a crucial combination of desert locations backed up by generous filming incentives and studio facilities. Eligible feature productions can get a 25% tax credit, and this rises to 30% for TV shoots.

Dramas set during the recent Iraq and Afghan wars are back in vogue, with true-life features Lone Survivor and American Sniper becoming huge box-office successes. Lone Survivor doubled New Mexico for the Afghan mountains, although this was notably because California was too expensive for the movie’s mid-range budget.

American Sniper was an exception, shooting largely in California. The US production landscape could shift when California launches its boosted filming incentive in the coming months.

Nonetheless, New Mexico is in a strong position to capitalise on the demand for a potential new wave of stories set in the Middle East.

A new TV miniseries based on the experiences of another US sniper has been announced by The Weinstein Company. Elsewhere, Transformers filmmaker Michael Bay is working on a movie recounting the infamous 2012 terror attack on the American diplomatic compound in the Libyan city of Benghazi.

At this stage, New Mexico has no real US competition for the types of locations and costs it offers. Neighbouring Arizona no longer offers a filming incentive. Nevada does offer production support but it is a minimal programme that was largely defunded last year when authorities decided to favour other sectors of the economy.

Internationally, Morocco is among the most popular locations for desert landscapes and has a long history of hosting high-profile TV dramas and feature films.


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