828 Productions will move to New Mexico and plans to build a studio complex – The Hollywood Reporter

California-based 828 Productions will join Netflix and NBCUniversal and create a new full-service film and production store in New Mexico, the state’s governor’s office announced Wednesday.

Over the next six years, 828 Productions plans to invest $75 million to build a 300,000 square foot studio and 20 acre back lot in Las Cruces. He plans to shoot his first studio production before the end of the year and spend $350 million on productions over the next decade. (Recent movies from 828 Productions include Helen is dead, Those who walk away and The consequences.)

Todd Lundbohm, founder and CEO of 828 Productions, said in a statement that the headquarters move was about “putting down roots.” He continued: “It’s a booming city, with a wealth of opportunities just waiting to be tapped. At 828, we’re passionate about history and film as an art form, but we’re also passionate about creating a studio environment that also inspires positivity behind the scenes.

New Mexico is committing $3 million to the project from the Local Economic Development Act job creation fund, intended to incentivize businesses to relocate to the state, if the business reaches its goal of creating at least 100 full-time jobs.

Pending City Council approval and the finalization of an agreement to participate in the project, Las Cruces will also dedicate an additional $897,000 in job creation funds. There may be an additional $2.8 million set aside by the city for movie infrastructure, bringing the total potential state and city funds for the project to $6.7 million.

828 Productions began ramping up its production efforts in New Mexico in May, purchasing a 7,500 square foot office building in downtown Las Cruces for professional training, post-production and visual effects. He is in the process of finalizing a deal to purchase an additional 35 acres of land in the same area, which already has existing structures that will provide a soundstage and building space.

With investments in New Mexico job creation, 828 Productions is poised to become the state’s third-largest film partner after Netflix and NBCUniversal, both of which have committed big bucks to producing content in the state over the next ten years. The partnership model was a key provision of legislation the governor signed in 2019 revising New Mexico’s film and television tax credit program to catalyze permanent Hollywood investment.

New Mexico’s hefty tax incentives of 25-35% for filming in the state have attracted a slew of productions in recent years. Lawmakers more than doubled the program’s annual cap in 2019, from $50 million to $110 million. Since then, the state has continued to see more money from the entertainment industry: spending has more than doubled from $292 million in 2020 to $626.5 million in 2021. New Mexico had a record $855 million in direct Hollywood spending in fiscal 2022 which ended in June. 30.

Las Cruces is included in New Mexico’s “uplift” incentive zone, which provides productions with an additional 5% tax credit for filming in rural areas. The incentive has seen rural communities see nearly $50 million in direct spending in 2022, a six-fold increase from the previous year, according to the governor’s office.

The first season of Walker: Independence and Canceled in addition to the second season of The cleaning lady recently started shooting in the state.

“New Mexico is seeing record numbers of film and television industry productions and record spending, and that’s no accident,” state Governor Lujan Grisham said in a statement. “Not only are we investing in studios like 828 Productions, but we’re expanding industry workforce training with a new film school in Albuquerque and Las Cruces — and it’s paying off.”

New Mexico may see more competition from neighboring states for productions in the near future. In July, Arizona raised the cap on its tax credit program to $75 million with another $50 million increase by 2025. Lawmakers cited a desire to compete with New Mexico for Hollywood dollars.

Marjorie N. McClure