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For Love of Film: Weaving light, art and time


Give me light,

Here, New Mexico desert light strikes wonder in the heart, provides brilliant backdrops and translates to film. No winding here, just straight forward goldness at dawn, at sunset, where you always want to ride into it, into a new adventure, a story all your own.

Play with the white sand shadows as the sun goes down, flash a music video under the stars. Or take a horse drawn hearse through the flats where a black stallion stands in the crystalline clarity. Cowboys work to stay alive battling with six shooters through this metaphoric world under this unforgiving brightness.

Turn on the camera,

That rattling old reel rolling on the film scene, puts forth millimeters of celluloid now with scratches and dots, sometimes fire. They go tramping through mountains past stately old growth pines. They make their rough ways, sweating with stains spreading in their armpits, through desert sands tearing their shirts open on the mesquite. They are unstoppable, searching for that right place to take the shot and then, once they find it, they make a whole crew follow them for the sight/site.


You never know what the silent, dark theater will bloom with when it comes alive. Our world lights up and up and our horizon can be seen on screen as races, loving, horses, drug dealers, railroads, trauma, drummers, snakes, laughter and, of course, cowboys, burst forth in shiny detail into our heads.

Stories all, allowing us to cry freely or laugh or growl. It’s the light there on the screen, reflecting our New Mexico gold, that transmits the story and leaves us gasping. It’s the vision of the filmmaker, sometimes confusing, sometimes terrifying and sometimes beautiful as they shine in their own light that transfer the story into a tangible way to give it to us to think about.

MovieMaker magazine has named Las Cruces as one of three New Mexico cities on their annual list of “Best Places to Live and Work as a Moviemaker” for 2023.

For the fifth consecutive year, Albuquerque ranks as one of the top Big Cities. For Small Cities and Towns, Santa Fe appears on the list taking the number 1 spot, and Las Cruces joins the list ranking 7th.

“With three cities on the Moviemaker rankings list of best places to live and work in film, there is no doubt that New Mexico is the place to be for film and TV,” Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham said.

In fiscal year 2022, the state announced a record-breaking $855.4 million dollars in production spend, with approximately $50 million attributed to production spend outside of the Albuquerque – Santa Fe corridor.   

“Las Cruces is honored to be named amongst the most prestigious and well-known filming towns in America,” state Senator Jeff Steinborn of Las Cruces said. “Our great locations and crew, top notch film incentives, and full-service film office makes Las Cruces and Doña Ana County an excellent filming destination.”

Further advancing the New Mexico film industry and ecosystem is Lujan Grisham’s recent announcement of the New Mexico Media Academy (NMMA), a collaboration with the Higher Education Department and 15 of their film and media programs statewide, Netflix, NBCUniversal, 828 Productions, and IATSE Local 480. The NMMA will be an epicenter for industry-standard workforce training with facilities located in Albuquerque and Las Cruces.

“The reason they [the film industry] came here was for the light and the landscape,” said Las Cruces artist Rush Allen who created this year’s festival poster.  “And then what brought everyone to know New Mexico is film like the westerns.”

The film festival is progressing this week and ends, with a screening of all the winning films, on Sunday, April 16. It’s not too late to take part and enjoy the shows. For information and tickets visit www.lascrucesfilmfest.com.

“We are all stories in the end, just make it a good one, eh?” 

― The Doctor (Who) Matt Smith