The New Mexico Economic Development Department, the New Mexico Film Office, the New Mexico Higher Education Department, New Mexico’s Film Partners, IATSE Local 480, and the Consortium Education Partners join Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham in celebrating the allocation of $40 million in funding for the establishment of the Next Generation Media Academy in Albuquerque.
“New Mexico’s film industry is thriving, with a record $626.5 million in revenue generated in fiscal year 2021 alone,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “We’re committed to providing everyone in our state with a path to success in this exciting industry, and our media academy will provide those opportunities, growing the industry and employing more New Mexicans.”
The one-time appropriation includes $20 million in capital outlay funding and $20 million in general funding to establish and operate the Next Generation Media Academy. The funding, which the governor signed into law yesterday as part of House Bill 2 and Senate Bill 212, will also cover equipment and material costs to train more New Mexicans to work in the state’s thriving film, television, and digital media industry.
An estimated 9,000 New Mexicans are employed by the New Mexico film, television, and digital media industry and a 2021 economic impact study indicated the industry generated an estimated $1.37 billion in economic output from FY20-21. For four consecutive years two New Mexico cities have been named best place to live and work as a movie maker by MovieMaker Magazine, and in 2021, 103 productions registered with the New Mexico Film Office filmed across the state, including the sixth and final season of Sony’s Better Call Saul, an Amazon original series, Outer Range, NBCUniversal’s MacGruber, season 4 of the popular Netflix series, Stranger Things, and dozens more.
The funding was among the Governor’s top priorities for the 2022 session, as outlined in the EDD’s 20-year Strategic Plan. The 20-year plan names the film, television, and digital media industry as one of the state’s key target industries that needs additional investment to remain competitive and diversify the economy.
The Next Generation Media Academy (NGMA) will be located in Bernalillo County and will provide an instructional environment unlike any other facility in the state - with state-of-the-art sound stages, equipment, technology, and materials, where production methods, existing and emergent, can be put into real-world practice. A proposed satellite campus in Las Cruces is also in development, with plans to offer bilingual training programs.
“The Next Generation Media Academy will be the cutting-edge epicenter for all New Mexicans with diverse backgrounds and experience levels to gain an industry-standard, union-supported, state-of-the-art, and highly specialized education in a chosen craft,” said EDD Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes. “Having such a forward-thinking program will result in well-paying careers for New Mexicans as well as providing a large highly skilled workforce for this industry.”
Once constructed, the NGMA has an initial goal of admitting 1,000 students per year. Existing New Mexico Film Partners, Netflix and NBCUniversal, and future film partners will contribute financially and offer paid apprenticeships. IATSE Local 480 will also allow NGMA students to accrue days toward union membership – ultimately leading to a fast-track for jobs and a long-term career with high wages and benefits.
The NGMA will create cohesion and collaboration among 15 of New Mexico’s already established higher education institutions, also known as the Consortium Education Partners statewide by setting up a core curriculum that meets industry standards. Further, it will provide an opportunity for those schools who participate to organize, unify, collaborate, and elevate New Mexico’s film and media educational ecosystem to a place where New Mexicans learn the fundamentals of production but also have access to invaluable on-the-job paid training, fast-tracking students into the workforce upon completion of the program.
“The Next Generation Media Academy elevates New Mexico as a global leader in the film and digital media industry, providing a highly competent, set-ready, relevant workforce in every corner of the state equipped with an array of skills, both traditional and emergent,” said Amber Dodson, director, New Mexico Film Office. “The NGMA is a game changing initiative centered on collaborative partnerships between 15 film and digital media higher education institutions statewide, as well as Netflix, NBCUniversal, IATSE Local 480, and the Department of Higher Education.”
The Consortium Education Partners include Northern New Mexico College, Luna Community College, San Juan College, New Mexico Junior College, Santa Fe Community College, Central New Mexico Community College, The University of New Mexico (UNM), UNM – Taos, UNM – Valencia, New Mexico State University’s Creative Media Institute (NMSU), NMSU – Grants, Doña Ana Community College, Eastern New Mexico University (ENMU), ENMU – Roswell, and Highlands University.