The state of New Mexico, in its infinite wisdom, turned down a $20 million movie because they don't like the subject matter.
"The Devil's Butcher Shop" by NM journalist Roger Morris tells the story of the 1980 New Mexico penitentiary prison riot where 33 inmates where killed. By all accounts, the riots were a grisly and sad tale in our state's history. But a growing number of people concerned with the Film Industry's impact on our state's economic development are up in arms over the decision.
The MISP-list is shorthand for the Media Industry Strategy Professionals list run out of UNM. Its subscriber lists runs into the many hundreds, and includes members of media, filmmakers, artists and designers interested in using media to create new industry in the state of New Mexico. Yesterday, that list was all a-'flurry with posts about the decision not to allow former New Mexico resident James Williams to shoot his movie at the old prison.
"I believe the unions should show some muscle," wrote one poster, [and that might be possible if the Union had ANY distance at all from the Richardson administration]. "A $20M movie would put lots of IATSE folks and Teamsters to work. The half dozen or so people on this thread who have commented will be a gnat on the elephant's ass unless we can make more noise."
Referring to state corrections head Joe Williams, another poster wrote: "Thanks Mr. Williams for patting us all on the head and sending us on our way with your reason as to why a $20M dollar film can not be done at the prison - to me it just raises a big red flag"
And what is that red flag? That once again, decisions about New Mexico arts are made at the highest levels with ZERO accountability on the part of the administration? (Yes, Virginia, the Elias Rivera show is NEVER going to go away.) Benevolent or not, this decision smacks of dictatorship when it comes to who gets to do what when in the state of New Mexico - and something ought to be done to bring this process into the open.
James Williams said he'd probably end up taking his movie to Toronto - now that's just about the most progressive thing I've ever heard about economic development for our film industry. We had a shot at a film written and produced by New Mexicans (Williams is a Santa Fe Prep graduate) and decisions were made about whether or not he could shoot BEHIND CLOSED DOORS with zero public feedback.
So what do you think? Supposedly, the New Mexican wants to know. They've put up a survey on www.freenewmexican.com, "attached to The New Mexican's AP version of the story under the headline" State turns down filming at prison." (Scroll down below the kids on sheep,
the ghost debunking...)" I think this has something to do with the spin machine that wants to make our governor the next Secretary of State - but Michael Bloomberg might have more to say on that subject than these bumpkins recognize.