Latino Producers Academy in New Mexico
Article by Megan Kamerick, New Mexico Business Weekly
Tucson’s loss is Santa Fe’s gain. The nonprofit National Association of Latino Independent Producers, or NALIP, has moved its Latino Producers Academy to the state after holding it for five years in Arizona and it has big plans to grow the training program here, along with the New Mexico Filmmakers program.
“We want to make this a Latino Sundance and a real year-round professional development for Native New Mexican and Latino talent here,” said Kathryn Galan, executive producer of NALIP. “We felt we could continue and expand our mission to New Mexico filmmakers by bringing the program here and we could dovetail with the Film Office and the governor’s mission of developing above-the-line talent and stories, and also participate in their commitment to training below-the-line New Mexican Latinos and Natives in the production and intern part of our program.”
Below-the-line is an industry phrase that refers to crews on films. Above-the-line generally means the creative teams behind productions, such as writers, producers, directors and actors. New Mexico’s film industry has been successful in working with schools here to train crews for film productions, but state officials also want to focus on promoting more creative talent here, such as writers and directors.
The NALIP academy is an intensive three-week program that offers professional development activities for budding American Indian, Latino and New Mexican filmmakers, both in documentary work and independent features. It’s designed for producers and directors who create or intend to create feature films, documentaries and series for network, cable or public television.
The program draws on the expertise of independent film and television producers and executives who mentor and support the participants. The goal is to produce more producers and directors who can help fulfill NALIP’s mission of promoting the advancement, development and funding of Latino film and media arts.
This year’s academy has 20 documentary fellows and 16 feature fellows. Seven are from New Mexico. The academy is also using more than 50 New Mexico crew members as well.
The feature fellows learn about acquiring material, working with writers, setting up production companies, building a creative team and other business decisions. The directors are given a professional crew, cast and a set of mentors to rehearse, shoot, edit, score and evaluate scenes from their features so they have a feeling for how they will make creative decisions in the context of a full production, Galan said.
“It helps them work out the kinks and they have the space to take risks,” she said. “They come away with a solid foundation for making a feature film.”
Half of the documentary fellows are in production and development, half are in post-production and have rough cuts of their projects, so they attend with their editors, Galan said.
The curriculum covers story structure, funding, creating sample trailers, rights and clearances and it even has composers who work with the productions.
The Center for Contemporary Arts will host an event on Aug. 13, where the documentary fellows will show scenes from their projects and will pitch their ideas to a funding panel from public television and other outlets. The Institute of American Indian Arts will host a screening of the Sundance feature film "Sleep Dealer" in conjunction with the academy on Aug. 15 at 8:15 p.m. Those events are open to the public. An event for the feature fellows on Aug. 21 at the Inn at Sunrise Springs will feature their work as well, but that is not open to the public.
Jodi Delaney, program director for the New Mexico Filmmakers initiative in the state Film Office, said she attended a NALIP conference with Lisa Strout, director of the film office, and realized the academy was a perfect fit for the state’s agenda of nurturing homegrown filmmakers.
“Without exception, every one of the fellows said how this changed [his or her] life,” she said. “They came out completely different producers than when they came in.”
Gov. Bill Richardson has an ambitious agenda to build a sustainable media community in New Mexico, Delaney added, and this dovetails well with that strategy.
The New Mexico fellows in this year’s Latino Producers Academy include: Darryl Deloach and Marcos Ramirez whose film is “The Liberation of Taos Ski Valley”; Claudio Ruben, who is making “Salaam Shalom”; Kelly Kowalski with “Spoiled”; Jerry Angelo and his film “Something Evil in the Apple Orchard”; Conrad Gomez, who is making “Sabino Days”; and Monica Winter, whose film is “Highway 101.”
Key New Mexico advisors to the academy include: Carlos Peinado with the Institute of American Indian Arts; Jon Hendry with IATSE Studio Mechanics Local 480; actor Gary Farmer; Dyanna Taylor, director of photography; Chad Davis, program director for KNME; Ted Garcia, former KNME station manager and now senior vice president for TV content with the Corporation for Public Broadcasting; and writer/director Joan Tewkesbury.
The state’s New Visions/New Mexico program is accepting applications through Sept. 5 at 5:00 p.m. It provides a total of $160,000 in contracts for New Mexico-based producers and directors to create narrative films, documentaries, animated and experimental works.
Joseph Julian Gonzalez
NALIPster scores film on Lifetime Movie Network
Little Girl Lost, a movie scored by NALIP member Joseph Julian Gonzalez, will premiere on Sunday, August 17 at 8PM ET/9PM PT on Lifetime Movie Network.
Judy Reyes (“Scrubs”), Ana Ortiz (“Ugly Betty”), A Martinez (“General Hospital”) and Hector Luis Bustamante (“The Shield,” “24”) star in this Lifetime Movie Network original film, the incredible real-life tale of a mother’s (Reyes) intuition that never wavered throughout her six-year search for her daughter. The movie also stars Marlene Forte as Tatita (“CSI,” “Real Women Have Curves”) and introducing Jillian Bruno (“Dexter”) as Delimar.