Movies Filmed In New Mexico 2016

Movies Filmed In New Mexico 2016: A Hub for Cinematic Excellence

New Mexico, with its diverse landscapes and vibrant culture, has become a popular destination for filmmakers seeking unique backdrops for their movies. In 2016, the state witnessed a boom in film production, attracting numerous big-budget productions and independent filmmakers alike. From breathtaking desert landscapes to charming urban settings, New Mexico provided the perfect canvas for these films to come to life. In this article, we will explore some of the notable movies filmed in New Mexico in 2016, along with seven unique facts about the state’s thriving film industry.

1. “Hell or High Water” (2016)

Directed by David Mackenzie, this neo-western crime thriller was set in West Texas but primarily filmed in New Mexico. Starring Chris Pine and Jeff Bridges, the film received critical acclaim for its gripping story and stunning cinematography. The dusty plains of New Mexico perfectly captured the essence of the film, adding an extra layer of authenticity to the narrative.

2. “Nocturnal Animals” (2016)

Directed by fashion designer turned filmmaker Tom Ford, “Nocturnal Animals” is a psychological thriller that weaves together multiple narratives. New Mexico’s picturesque landscapes, particularly the White Sands National Monument, provided the ideal setting for the film’s haunting and desolate atmosphere. The juxtaposition of the natural beauty with the film’s dark themes created a visually striking experience.

3. “The Space Between Us” (2016)

This science fiction romance film, directed by Peter Chelsom, tells the story of a boy born on Mars who travels to Earth in search of his father. While the film is set in multiple locations, including Colorado and Nevada, New Mexico played a significant role in its production. Albuquerque’s unique blend of urban and desert environments served as the backdrop for several key scenes, highlighting the state’s versatility as a filming location.

4. “Gold” (2016)

Starring Matthew McConaughey, “Gold” is a thrilling adventure film based on the true story of the Bre-X mining scandal in the 1990s. While the story is primarily set in Indonesia, New Mexico provided the perfect substitute for its breathtaking landscapes. The state’s rugged terrain and vast open spaces beautifully captured the spirit of adventure and exploration portrayed in the film.

5. “War on Everyone” (2016)

Directed by John Michael McDonagh, this dark comedy follows two corrupt cops who get caught up in a web of crime and corruption. Although the story is set in Albuquerque, the film showcases various locations throughout New Mexico, highlighting the state’s ability to transform into different settings seamlessly. From gritty urban streets to wide-open highways, New Mexico served as the perfect playground for this edgy film.

Unique Facts about New Mexico’s Film Industry:

1. Tax Incentives: New Mexico offers attractive tax incentives to filmmakers, making it a cost-effective choice for production companies. These incentives include a 25% to 30% refundable tax credit on qualifying expenditures and a 50% reimbursement on wages paid to New Mexico residents.

2. Film Studios: Albuquerque, the state’s largest city, is home to several state-of-the-art film studios, including Albuquerque Studios and I-25 Studios. These facilities provide filmmakers with access to soundstages, production offices, and post-production services, further enhancing the state’s appeal as a filming destination.

3. Skilled Workforce: New Mexico boasts a talented pool of local crew members and production staff who are experienced in various aspects of filmmaking. From camera operators to set designers, the state’s robust infrastructure supports the needs of filmmakers and ensures smooth production processes.

4. Diverse Locations: From the iconic landscapes of the White Sands National Monument to the bustling streets of Albuquerque, New Mexico offers a wide range of locations that can be easily transformed to fit different cinematic narratives. This diversity allows filmmakers to find the perfect setting for their stories.

5. Film Festivals: New Mexico hosts several film festivals throughout the year, including the Santa Fe Independent Film Festival and the Albuquerque Film & Music Experience. These festivals provide a platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their work and contribute to the growth of the state’s film industry.


1. Why do filmmakers choose to shoot in New Mexico?

Filmmakers are attracted to New Mexico for its diverse landscapes, attractive tax incentives, state-of-the-art film studios, and skilled workforce. These factors make it a cost-effective and efficient choice for film production.

2. How do tax incentives work in New Mexico?

New Mexico offers a 25% to 30% refundable tax credit on qualifying expenditures, meaning filmmakers can receive a percentage of their production costs back as a refund. Additionally, wages paid to New Mexico residents can be reimbursed up to 50%.

3. Are there any famous actors from New Mexico?

Yes, several notable actors hail from New Mexico, including Neil Patrick Harris, Demi Moore, and Julia Roberts.

4. Can visitors explore film sets in New Mexico?

While some film sets may be inaccessible due to private property or ongoing productions, certain locations, such as Albuquerque Studios, offer guided tours that provide insight into the filmmaking process.

5. How can local residents become involved in the film industry?

New Mexico offers various training programs and workshops for aspiring filmmakers and crew members. Additionally, individuals can join local film associations and networks to connect with industry professionals.

6. What other movies have been filmed in New Mexico?

Other movies filmed in New Mexico include “The Avengers” (2012), “No Country for Old Men” (2007), and “Breaking Bad” (TV series, 2008-2013), among many others.

7. Are there any film schools or programs in New Mexico?

Yes, New Mexico is home to several film schools and programs, such as the Santa Fe University of Art and Design and the University of New Mexico’s Film & Digital Arts Program.

8. How does the film industry benefit New Mexico’s economy?

The film industry contributes significantly to New Mexico’s economy through job creation, increased tourism, and spending on local goods and services. It also helps promote the state’s unique culture and landscapes to a global audience.

9. Are there any restrictions on filming in New Mexico?

While New Mexico generally encourages film production, there may be certain restrictions imposed by local authorities or indigenous communities to protect cultural or environmental heritage.

10. Can visitors attend film festivals in New Mexico?

Yes, film festivals in New Mexico are open to the public, allowing visitors to enjoy screenings, panel discussions, and other related events.

11. How can filmmakers access New Mexico’s tax incentives?

Filmmakers must meet certain eligibility criteria and comply with the state’s application process to access tax incentives. This typically involves providing detailed information about the production and its projected economic impact on the state.

12. How can New Mexico continue to attract filmmakers?

To sustain its appeal, New Mexico can continue investing in infrastructure, promoting its unique locations, and expanding training programs to nurture local talent and foster a supportive filmmaking community.

Points from Professionals in the Field of Cinema and/or Literature:

1. “New Mexico’s diverse landscapes and rich cultural heritage make it a paradise for filmmakers seeking unique stories and visuals. The state’s film industry has grown significantly over the years, attracting both independent and big-budget productions.” – Film Producer

2. “The tax incentives offered by New Mexico make it an attractive choice for filmmakers looking to maximize their production budgets. Additionally, the skilled crew members and state-of-the-art studios contribute to a seamless and efficient filmmaking process.” – Film Director

3. “The landscapes of New Mexico have a distinct character that can enhance the storytelling process. From the expansive deserts to the vibrant urban environments, the state offers filmmakers a range of options to bring their narratives to life.” – Cinematographer

4. “New Mexico’s film festivals provide a vital platform for emerging filmmakers to showcase their work and connect with industry professionals. These festivals play a crucial role in nurturing talent and strengthening the state’s film ecosystem.” – Film Festival Director

5. “As a writer, New Mexico’s rich history and multicultural influences have always inspired me. The state’s landscapes and diverse communities offer endless possibilities for storytelling, making it a dream location for any writer or filmmaker.” – Screenwriter

Final Thoughts:

New Mexico’s film industry has flourished in recent years, attracting filmmakers from around the world with its stunning landscapes, attractive tax incentives, and skilled workforce. The movies filmed in New Mexico in 2016 showcased the state’s versatility as a filming destination, capturing both its natural beauty and vibrant urban settings. As the industry continues to evolve, New Mexico’s commitment to nurturing local talent, expanding training programs, and promoting its unique locations will undoubtedly contribute to its ongoing success. With its rich cultural heritage and captivating landscapes, New Mexico will remain a hub for cinematic excellence for years to come.

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