When it comes to art in New Mexico, Santa Fe and Taos have traditionally grabbed most of the headlines, exhibitions and tourists. But Albuquerque boasts its own proud legacy of artists from Raymond Jonson and Florence Pierce to Frederick Hammersley and Howard Schleeter. It's just that Albuquerque has never been the marketing machine that Santa Fe and Taos have been. But I'm now joining with New Mexico PBS (KNME-TV in Albuquerque) and executive producer Michael Kamins to change that. I'm currently in the midst of interviewing and researching for a 1-hour documentary piece called "Painting Albuquerque." Michael has likened this research process to archaeology, and it has been fun to dig up stories about the various artists, their unseen work, and ephemera that we'll use to bring these folks to life. Once the script is written and approved, I'll begin producing the piece this fall. We hope to present the finished piece early next year, in conjunction with the opening of the "Art of Central New Mexico" exhibit at the Albuquerque Museum, curated by Joe Traugott.
The new year is starting off great. I've been asked by the city's Public Art Program to put together a series of videos for artists on how to apply for public art commissions. We'll be shooting in Albuquerque, but the series is intended for artists everywhere. We held auditions for a host and I'm pleased to announce that Angela Littleton of Albuquerque was selected from a very talented group of actors to get the part. We hope to start shooting in February.
Blaise Koller, Bazz McClain and I received our first Rocky Mountain Emmy awards last Saturday for "Flight Path: The Flyway Project," our documentary detailing the process from creation to completion of artist Robert Wilson's controversial (at least to a certain westside City Councilor) jetty jack sculpture near the Open Space division headquarters on Coors Boulevard.
The honor was bestowed during ceremonies at the University of Phoenix Stadium in Glendale, AZ., which unfortunately, none of us could attend.
We won in the category of Politics/Government-Program Feature/Segment or Program/Special, which may not be the most prestigious, but it's definitely one of the longest categories.
Anyway, I never thought I'd get excited about a trophy, but damn, it's heavy and shiny, just like the real Emmys. By the way, the Rocky Mountain Emmys are a division of the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, the folks that give out the nationally televised awards each year.
Click here to watch the video. Now that we've won the award, we're also hoping to get the piece back on GOV-TV. Councilor Dan Lewis tried to get us banned from airing the piece
Bazz McClain and I have just locked our latest doc for the city called "Marking TIme: The Center of the City" project. This piece documents the creation and installation of two metal plaques marking the geographic center of Albuquerque in 1912, the year of statehood, and 2012, the centennial. Surprisingly, despite the tremendous growth of the city in that time, the centers are merely 1.5 miles apart today.
The piece features interviews with local historians Ed Boles and Mo Palmer, who give the history of Albuquerque from just prior to the coming of the railroad in the 1880 to present day. I learned a bunch of stuff I didn't know about our fair city. I'm sure you will too. We also interviewed Yami Duarte, the artists who created the markers, and folks from the city who helped find and place the markers.
The film is scheduled to premiere at 6 pm, Thursday, Oct. 18 at the Special Collections Library on Central Avenue. I'll post more as we get closer to the premiere.
August was a good month. Signed an option for Dead by Thursday. Followed that up by optioning the movie script and TV pilot for "Duke City," the project we've worked on with Steven Quezada. We have some big name stars looking at both scripts. Hope to strike gold with at least one of them soon.
Also heard that "Flight Path: The Flyway Project," one of the docs I did for the City of Albuquerque public art program received a nomination for the Rocky Mountain Emmy Awards. Since we're the only nominee, looks like we'll get it. (There were several other nominees in the category, so it's not like we didn't have competition.)
I worked with photographers and editors Bazz McClain and Blaise Koller on this one. We're very proud of this one. Can't wait to tell the folks in Councilor Dan Lewis' office about the award. If you've seen the piece, you may remember that Lewis tried to kill the piece, unsuccessfully. He was not happy about his portrayal and -- well, we'll talk about it after we receive the award.
It's official. Writing partner Mike Gallagher and I signed an option with the RIo Grande Media Group today for our feature film script "Dead By Thursday." Can't tell you how exciting this is.
We got paid for the option and we get to work with a cool group of people to get a totally homegrown New Mexico movie made.
And when the movie actually goes into production, we get paid a nice amount. Being screenwriters in New Mexico, we know how rare it is for us to actually get paid for our work.
As many of you know, I've been crusading for local filmmakers for years. I've always thought that if the indigenous community, that is, New Mexicans, don't start getting in on the incentive program and start taking advantage of everything we have in place for film, the whole effort will have been a wasted.
Not that I don't support the invasion by Hollywood -- in part, that's why we're able to do what we're doing. But we cannot live by the generosity of outsiders alone. Hollywood could pick up and leave any time. We want to make sure there is something to take its place.
We hope this step will open up opportunities for other New Mexicans who want to work above the line. I know so many talented writers, producers and directors who live here, but who rarely get the chance to do what they want to do and get paid for it. Thanks to RGMG for honoring the creative process and opening the way for those of us who want to live and work and make movies and TV here.
By the way, we are in negotiations for a second option on "Duke City," a feature film that we hope to parlay into a TV series, starting Steven Michael Quezada, Dean Norris of "Breaking Bad" and Wes Studi.
We know we may have to bow to the reality of the business and bring in folks from outside our borders to get a TV series off the ground, but the intent is to use as much above-the-line and below-the-line talent from New Mexico as possible, including the writing team.
My week is going well.
Found out Monday my city contract with the Public Art program is renewed for another three months.
Found out this morning I may get the chance to be a local producer for a Discovery Channel piece on gangs. Should know more later in the day. Thank you, Ann Lerner, for the referral.
Also, learned yesterday our 48 Hour film, "Baking Bad," made it to the finals on Saturday night at the KiMo. Come check out the best of this year's 48 crop. The producers of "Baking Bad" have also offered me the chance to go to Austin with a team from here to compete in their 48 Hour competition next month.
Also met with local speaker Creve Maples this week to discuss a locally produced TV series, a la TED, with a focus on -- well, everything -- from quantum physics to how the brain works to archaeological mysteries and the MEANING OF LIFE. If we go any deeper, we'll have to kill you.
Off to meet with Rio Grande Media Group this morning to discuss option for "Dead By Thursday."
UPDATE: Close to a deal with Rio Grande Media Group for 2-year option on DBT. Also discussing option on "Duke City" feature film. Looking good. Look forward to working with RGMG.
Looks like my writing partner, Mike Gallagher, and I, are about to have a script optioned by the Rio Grande Media Group. It's for our first feature film script, "Dead By Thursday," the story of a couple of ex-drug smugglers who must come out of hiding to rescue a Mennonite boy from a vicious Mexican cartel. A certain big-name star has read the script and is interested, so we're excited to see what happens with this. I'm not putting the name out there for various reasons, but mainly because I'm superstitious and don't want to jinx this.
We're also hoping to lock down an option for the movie version of "Duke City" soon. The film script is a prequel to the first episode of the TV series we're hoping to launch here in New Mexico. It's about an undercover cop who infiltrates a local gang to gain information on Mexican cartels (I'm sure you're seeing a theme here, but don't worry, next one's a sci-fi). He soon finds himself leading the gang after an unfortunate turn of events. Then things get weird.
Waiting to hear if the 48 Hour film I co-scripted, "Baking Bad," made it to the finals. Should know pretty soon. Worked with my buddy Gene Grant, and KataLina Parrish and Lynda Fazio on that one.
Also making progress on a new video for the City of Albuquerque Public Art program called "Center of the CIty." It's got a little science, a little geography, a couple of big pieces of public art and lots of history about the city around the time of statehood. I've lived here 34 years and found out stuff I didn't know about Albuquerque.
I know a lot of people have wondered what exactly it is I do for a living. I hope this website will answer that question. Like most freelancers, I try to have several things going at once.
Anyway, I'm really excited about working with Steven Michael Quezada and the Rio Grande Media Group to launch New Mexico's first home-grown dramatic TV series, "Duke City." I've worked with Steven and my writing partner, Michael Gallagher, to draft the pilot episode. The pilot drew the attention of investors, not only to finance the pilot, but potentially an entire season. We hope to have a deal done soon. Haven't been this excited about a project since I helped launch the Duke City Shootout.
At this point, looks like we have letters of interest from Wes Studi and Dean Norris, Steven's partner on the hit show "Breaking Bad." Otherwise, our intention is to use as many New Mexico crew members, actors and creatives as possible, including writers.
If you want to find out more, check out Duke City TV on Facebook.
On other fronts, my latest documentary for the City of Albuquerque's Public Art Program, "Rain to River: The Hahn Arroyo Project," is just about finished. Thanks to Bazz McClain and Blaise Koller for helping get this piece finished. It's been more than a year in the making.
I'm hoping this piece will be well-received by all concerned, unlike the my last public art video, "Flight Path," which pissed off a certain westside City Councilor and got me in a bit of hot water. If you want to see what the fuss is about, go to the Movies and More page and click on the "Flight Path" link.