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Sunday, December 21, 2014

Film growth in NM gives locals new opportunities

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By William Aranda / New Mexico Daily Lobo

(left to right) Alex Deeds, a freshman undeclared major; Djochoua Belovarski, a senior media arts major; and Megan Pham, a senior media arts major, read through a script for a science fiction film they are producing at the Flying Star in downtown Albuquerque on Thursday afternoon. Belovarski said they have been working on the film for two years.

With the recent approval of a bill that offers greater incentives for both filming and hiring local, the state of New Mexico’s film community is buzzing with excitement for incoming opportunities.

Djochoua Belovarski, a senior media arts major and UNM Film Association member, said now is an excellent time to be involved with Albuquerque’s filming community.

The most recent incentives of HB 379, known as the Break Bad Bill, have kept a lot of production companies in New Mexico and hiring local, he said.

“‘Making the move’ is a term common in the film community referring to moving to Hollywood to pursue a career in film,” Belovarski said. “But with so many projects operating in Albuquerque, I may be able to pursue a career here at home.”

Belovarski plans to have a career in directing feature films, he said. He is working on his senior project, a film entitled “Lyra.”

“‘Lyra’ is based on one of my first short films I created when I was in high school,” Belovarski said. “It’s about the dynamics and emotional stress of people leaving Earth never to return.”

His personal work has been successful in the past, and he believes a lot of his success is due to the support of the UNM Film Association and the local film community, he said.

“The UNM Film Association has been great in helping me organize my projects,” said Belovarski. “I’ve used them several times for casting calls, crew calls … if I need anything I go to them.”

His goal is to premiere his film at the John Cocteau Cinema House in Santa Fe, which is owned by “Game of Thrones” author George R.R. Martin, he said.

“It’s just a huge project, and we’re getting people from all departments involved,” said Belovarski. “We’re hoping that it opens a lot of doors.”

Megan Pham, a senior media arts major and co-founder of the UNM Film Association, said she helped form the association two years ago as a source for students to connect to the local film community and also network with each other.

“Film is all about networking, it’s a team effort,” Pham said. “We’ve created a network with all different kinds of talents to help connect students to each other and update students to local opportunities in film.”

The UNM Film Association has close to 200 members, in addition to numerous non-members who lend their support for local producers, she said,

“The ultimate goal is to have professionals in the film industry visit as guest speakers and talk about their experiences working in the field,” Pham said. “We’re all about connecting people. If you don’t have connections in film, you’re not going to have a film.”

The UNM Film Association and the New Mexico Film Office are looking for student involvement in current and future projects.

For more information, visit the UNM Film Association’s Facebook page, or the New Mexico Film Office’s website at nmfilm.com.
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Tomas Lujan is the assistant culture editor for The Daily Lobo. He can be reached at culture@dailylobo.com or on Twitter @TomasVLujan._