New Mexico Set To Build $40 Million Media Academy With Sound Stages

New Mexico’s government has allocated $40 million in funding for the establishment of a new film, TV and digital academy in Albuquerque dubbed the Next Generation Media Academy.

The funding, which New Mexico Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham signed into law March 9, will cover equipment and material costs to train up New Mexicans to work in the state’s thriving film, television and digital media industry.

NGMA will be located in Bernalillo County and will provide state-of-the-art sound stages, equipment, technology and materials. A proposed satellite campus in Las Cruces is also in development, with plans to offer bilingual training programs. Once constructed, NGMA has an initial goal of admitting 1,000 students per year.

According to the New Mexico Film Office, an estimated 9,000 New Mexicans are employed in the state’s film, television and digital media industry and in 2021, when a total of 103 productions registered with the local film organization to film across the state including the sixth and final season of AMC/Sony TV’s Better Call Saul, Amazon’s Outer Range, NBCUniversal’s MacGruber and Season 4 of Netflix’s Stranger Things. Christopher Nolan’s latest feature Oppenheimer, which he’s making with Universal, is currently shooting in the state.

Netflix and NBCUniversal have agreed to contribute financially to the academy and offer paid apprenticeships for students. IATSE Local 480 will also allow NGMA students to accrue days toward union membership.

“New Mexico’s film industry is thriving with a record $626.5 million in revenue generated in fiscal year 2021 alone,” said Lujan Grisham in a statement. “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.”

To ensure curriculum at the academy is in line with industry standards, NGMA is partnering with 15 film and digital media and higher education institutions.

“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 Economic Development Department 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.”

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