Saturday, March 7, 2020, kicked off the Deadline Hollywood’s inaugural Hot Spots event in Albuquerque, NM, at the Hotel Chaco. Hot Spots, the brainchild of the publication’s Chief Revenue Officer and GM Stacey Farish, showcase thriving entertainment cities outside of Hollywood, CA. Kaleidoscope Reviews and the African American Film Critics Association (AAFCA), Deadline’s partner, were represented and on the grounds. The conference shined a spotlight on the city’s growing presence as a burgeoning production center while highlighting neighboring cities Santa Fe and Las Cruces for their continued growth as premiere production destinations. Netflix announced at the start of Monday’s conference that Stranger Things Season 4 would be shooting in New Mexico. Hollywood has taken notice of the state’s unique and bountiful offering of scenic locations, generous tax credits, and equipped talent to execute productions to industry standards.
As the conference got underway, the Diversity and Inclusion in New Mexico panel proved to be a morning highpoint. Justin Key, Kaleidoscope Reviews and AAFCA member, moderated the panel featuring Liz Pecos, Rochelle Bussey, Ramona Emerson, Jonathan Sims, and Jason Asenap. The panelists were not shy about sharing their experiences in the industry and the lack of inclusion they endured, especially the Native American filmmakers. To help provide solutions for the growing need of a diverse workforce, the New Mexico Film Office shared information on programs such as the Film Crew Advancement Program (FCAP), which provides on-the-job training for NM residents working in primarily technical industry positions.
The conference attracted attendees from Los Angeles, New York, Washington, D.C, Atlanta, and other entertainment hub cities. Network executives, attorneys, film commissioners, casting directors, producers, filmmakers, actors, journalists, and more served as panelists, speakers, moderators, and information seekers. The state of New Mexico rolled out the red carpet and proved why it deserved to be the first stop on the Hot Spots tour. The industry is paying attention. Deadline Hot Spots is leading the charge by showcasing thriving entertainment cities and advancing economies to the level that only the entertainment industry can.
We look forward to the continued, groundbreaking work that this platform provides.