10-18-2018 Update - ABQ city councilors unanimously approved $4.5 million (plus $10 million for the State of NM) in incentives from the Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) Fund to help Netflix to purchase Albuquerque Studios, which in turn will refurbish them, shoot films & TV series, spending $1 billion on film productions in the first 10 years of operations. Instructors from CNM at the meeting stated the school is ready to help Netflix fill jobs. "We don't just have filmmakers at CNM, we have builders, we have carpenters...we have any jobs in the film industry. We can do it," Charlie O'Dowd said.Netflix is making Albuquerque its home away from home. The entertainment giant has purchased Albuquerque Studios and will make it a production hub over the next year. Mayor Tim Keller said, “There will be 1,000 jobs per year, which is the largest Albuquerque-based jobs program that we can think of.”
Netflix says it will use the new studio for production of its irreverent apocalypse dramedy Daybreak, supernatural drama Chambers, and epic, suspenseful drama Messiah. The streaming giant said it has found New Mexico to be well-suited for production, with its hospitable climate, great exteriors and interiors and an experienced crew who’ve built infrastructure in the years since the city provided the backdrop for Breaking Bad. It previously produced the Emmy-winning limited series Godless, The Ridiculous Six and Longmire in NM among many others. “Our experience producing shows and films in New Mexico inspired us to jump at the chance to establish a new production hub here,” said Ty Warren, Netflix’s VP Physical Production. “The people, the landscape and the facilities are all stellar and we can’t wait to get to work — and employ lots of New Mexicans — creating entertainment for the world to enjoy.”
Albuquerque Studios consists of nine sound stages with over 170,000 sq ft, and another 100,000 sq ft for production offices which often doubles for filming locations, mill space and a back lot. They also offer a variety of production support from in-house lighting and grip to equipment rental. View a list of recent productions that have been filmed in part of Albuquerque Studios Here. According to a press release Monday, the company is in the final negotiations to purchase Albuquerque Studios and plans to bring $1 Billion in production to New Mexico over the next ten years. This will be Netflix's first purchase of a production studio complex. The company will produce film and television series in the new facility. They will also film at locations around the state. New Mexico will provide up to $10 million in Local Economic Development Act (LEDA) funding and Albuquerque will commit up to $4.5 million in local LEDA funding.
Albuquerque has regularly been ranked in the top 10 of Moviemaker’s best places to be a filmmaker. The New Mexico film industry has seen steady growth for more than 15 years. “This deal helps define us,” Mayor Keller says. “This is Intel equivalent. There has been nothing like this in central New Mexico other than Intel. For us though, Intel was one of 13 fab (fabrication) plants. This is it. It is their only studio they have in the United States that they’ve purchased. [Netflix is] putting their anchor here and it’s going to redefine the economic landscape in Albuquerque and the Southwest.”
Keller said Albuquerque beat out other places such as Denver, Salt Lake City, Austin, New York, Georgia and Los Angeles. Netflix was impressed with the experience of crew in New Mexico. “Our workforce was ready. The jobs don’t require a particular degree and they are accessible from all walks of life. They are high paying and that is extremely rare. The film industry has its own career ladder. It doesn’t matter where you went to school and it’s one of the great industries where you are rewarded for as good as you are at your job.”
“Albuquerque Studios has been a rental house for years,” Alicia J. Keyes, city of Albuquerque’s film liaison said. “Now you have a production and distribution company that can create their own content. They won’t be looking for people to rent the space. Netflix’s commitment to Albuquerque is the result of years of support for this industry by the legislature, the administrations and the New Mexico people. Our state’s commitment to the entertainment industry has paid off in a big way, especially when you consider the amount of outside money flowing into our community. Last year, just in Albuquerque, film/TV brought in over $180 million of direct spend, and that does not count the indirect money from tourism and monies spent outside of production.”
At its recent peak in 2016, New Mexico’s film industry injected $505 million (more than a half a billion dollars) into the economy, shattering the previous record by more than $115 million. In that same year (2016), the U.S. Department of Commerce ranked New Mexico’s economy the third-fastest growing in the nation and seventh in the nation for private-sector job growth. The 2016 data showed that the industry continues to support more jobs, with over 448,304 worker days in FY17. Local 492 had about 300 Teamsters working in the NM film Industry in 2016. Brian O'Leary, Senior Vice President Tax NBCUniversal said, “The stability of the tax credit program, an expanding and increasingly skilled local workforce, and best in class industry support from the New Mexico film office are just some of the critical elements that have led to a thriving industry cluster in New Mexico.”
Some of the other major Studios in NM include, I-25 studios, Garson Studios, and Santa Fe Studios. “It’s really good for the state and they will be hiring people from New Mexico,” Nick Maniatis, NM Film Office director said. “It won’t have a negative impact. The rest of the [NM] studios will be busy with work that would normally go to Albuquerque Studios.”
“Having Netflix set down roots in Albuquerque guarantees that the city will remain a major production center for the entertainment industry,” Keller said. “Thanks to the strong leadership of our Albuquerque Film Office, who initiated the deal, and the groundwork laid by previous and current film industry partners, we’re ready to welcome Netflix to Albuquerque as a long-term partner in building our state’s economy.” Netflix has 130 million memberships in over 190 countries.
Portions of this article came from the Albuquerque Journal, KRQE News and Deadline