New Mexico: Unprecedented Growth
The state of New Mexico has certainly captured the interest of the film industry during recent years. Approximately $513.9 million was spent in New Mexico during fiscal year 2017, an increase of almost $115 million from the prior year. More than 40 projects with budgets in excess of $1 million shot most of their films in New Mexico.
Gov. Susana Martinez is a firm supporter of the film-incentive program and says in her governor’s statement that “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.” This past March, Gov. Martinez vetoed Senate Bill 269, which would have allowed smaller studios to enter into the pool of “qualified production facilities” as she believes New Mexico’s minimum acreage required to carry out production activities is already sufficient.
The nuts and bolts of New Mexico’s Incentives program:
- The base incentive is a refundable tax credit equal to 25 percent of qualified spend, resident labor, and payments to nonresident performing artists; and, 15 percent on the wages and fringes for a defined number of certain below-the-line nonresident crew.
- Standalone TV pilots are eligible for a 30 percent credit on direct production expenditures, excluding payments to nonresident performing artists (25 percent), when documentation is included showing the intention for the series to be produced in New Mexico if “picked up.”
- TV series with an order for at least six episodes and a New Mexico budget of $50,000 or more per episode may earn 30 percent on all resident labor and other direct production expenditures; 15 percent on the defined number of certain below-the-line nonresident crew; and 25 percent on nonresident on-camera talent. However, when the same (parent) company begins another TV series in New Mexico within the same year, nonresident on-camera talent for both productions will earn 30 percent.
- Feature films, with a New Mexico budget of less than $30 million that shoot at least 10 principal photography days in New Mexico (seven or more at a qualified production facility with remaining days at a standing set) or, with a minimum New Mexico budget of $30 million that shoot at least 15 principal photography days in New Mexico (10 or more at a QPF with the remaining days at a standing set) may earn 30 percent on New Mexico resident labor.
- In no event may the production company earn more than 30 percent of direct expenditures.
Partial list of TV shows recently produced in New Mexico:
Mr. Robot (2017), The Brave (2017), Longmire 2016
Partial list of feature films recently produced in New Mexico:
Arizona (2017), Shot Caller (2017), Hunted By My Ex (2017), Sicario (2015), Hostiles (2016), Thor (2011)