Friday, August 17, 2007

Hollywood on the Rio Grande

Internationally known animator Chris Kientz, who created RAVEN TALES, told me this week: “There is so much that is exciting about the animation industry in New Mexico today. Soon you'll see all sorts of animation coming out of New Mexico. This really is a state with a unique group of talented artists. And with Jonathan Benson, Derek Fisher and Mark Medoff at Creative Media Institute doing such a great job, Las Cruces will be a hub of that industry,” Kientz predicted.“The future is amazingly bright. New Mexico is in a fantastic position. Companies like Sony are showing up and I think movie production companies and video game companies now are first looking at Los Angeles, then Vancouver and then New Mexico."
As if to proove him right,we just learned that “The Burning Plain,” a new feature film written and directed by “Babel” screenwriter Guillermo Arriaga and starring Academy Award-winning actress Charlize Theron, will begin filming in Las Cruces this fall.
“Las Cruces will be the principal location site and they will be filming here for a couple of months,” said Las Cruces based playwright and filmmaker Mark Medoff, creative director for Creative Media Institute (CMI) at New Mexico State University.
“Producers are already in town making preparations and Arriaga will be living here. The film is set primarily in the Southwest and Northwest. CMI will be working with them to help them get everything they need,” Jonathan Benson, CMI’s director, said Friday.
CMI will soon hire a new regional film liaison who will work with the production to help them answer questions and find regional locations and resources.
“I understand that the producers plan to spend about $7 million here. I think they’re still working out the budget. People will be arriving next week to set up preproduction offices and the tentative schedule is to start shooting in mid-October through Christmas,” Benson said.
Arriaga’s 2006 film “Babel” won the Golden Globe Award for Best Motion Picture and was nominated for seven Academy Awards, including Best Motion Picture, director, editing, original screenplay and two supporting actress nominations. The film won an Oscar for best original score.
Medoff said “The Burning Plain” will be the feature film directing debut for Arriaga, who has also written the screenplay.
Theron won a Best Actress Academy Award for her role in “Monster” and was nominated for an Oscar for her role in “North Country,” which included location filming in Silver City.
Theron will portray Sylvia, “who tries to find common ground with her parents after a turbulent childhood,” and Theron will also executive produce the film, according to a report in “Variety.”
Benson said the movie will be “a character driven piece. Charlize will play a woman from Portland, Ore.”
The above story appears in Saturdays Las Cruces Sun-News.

Read more about Kientz in Sunday's Sun-Life
How do you feel about our future as Hollywood on the Rio Grande.

No comments: