By NM Economic Development
Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham has appointed New Mexico resident and long-time Locations Manager Todd Christensen to head the New Mexico Film Office.
Christensen has scouted and managed locations for all the major motion picture studios and completed 10 movies in New Mexico including “Off the Map” “Sicario 1 &2” “Only the Brave” “12 Strong” and “the Ballad of Buster Scruggs.”
Starting his career in Los Angeles, Christensen’s first job was for the movie “As Good As it Gets.” He went onto work on such projects as “Syriana”, “Moneyball”, “The Hunger Games,” “There Will Be Blood”’, “‘Paul”’ and many more. Christensen has worked with directors Paul Thomas Anderson, James L. Brooks, and Joel and Ethan Coen.
“I’ve been in the field on movies for 23 years doing this job,” Christensen said. “I’ve worked with over 50 producers, I have friends in all of the studios. I’m going to contact all of those people to tell them to come to New Mexico to make their next movie or TV series here,” he said.
Cabinet Secretary Alicia J. Keyes of the Economic Development Department said the state is seeing significant interest since a new industry incentives law was signed by Gov. Lujan Grisham. The change will double the amount of money that can be paid out for filming in New Mexico and allows reimbursements up to 35 percent.
“Our crews, our climate have always been terrific, and now we have an incentives law to match,” Keyes said. The new measure also exempts the cap altogether for those companies that sign a 10-year partnership with New Mexico.
“Todd has been on the ground in the United States and New Mexico working with producers for more than two decades,” said Keyes. “He can carry our message: New Mexico is serious about building the industry, we want production companies to not only come and film in the state, but to stay here permanently and provide year-round employment.”
Christensen hopes to better coordinate with schools and colleges to develop the workforce in New Mexico.
He has worked with film commissions all over the United States, including South Korea, Poland, Mexico, the Bahama’s and, most importantly, New Mexico. Christensen understands the need for strong collaboration between the state film office, tribal governments, and city and county film liaisons.
“Every movie has challenges and there can be logistical nightmares,” he said. “That’s why there has to be cooperation with the state and the city and county film offices. I want to help with that. I want to be available and accessible,” he said.
A native of Yankton, S.D., Christensen lived for periods of time in Albuquerque and Taos before settling full time in Santa Fe in 2006. He started his position as Director of the New Mexico Film Office on Monday, May 20.