Three Reasons to Study Film and Visual Arts in New Mexico

The Trifecta of Film Production in New Mexico

Ok, so you think New Mexico is out in the boonies, remote, hot and dusty! To some degree you are correct, but there’s a lot more to the land of enchantment than meets the eye. New Mexico is famous for its unique light and landscape that attract artists and scholars from around the globe, and recently Hollywood Reporter ranked New Mexico as a “film hotspot.” So, think again, because just a little over eight months ago, Netflix decided to relocate its production facility to Albuquerque with a potential to drop a billion dollars into the local economy over the next decade!

And if that’s not enticing enough for a potential film/visual arts student, consider that NBCUniversal has entered into a 10-year venture to redevelop an empty warehouse in Albuquerque into a state-of-the-art television and film studio with two sound stages, offices and a mill. By purchasing the already existing Albuquerque Studios
(, Netflix has gained immediate access to eight sound stages totaling 132,000 square feet of space, plus 100,000 square feet of production offices and a large backlot.

In no time has this sleepy New Mexico capitol turned into an attractive boutique city on the production map to a marquee player, attracting over 50 major productions in the last three years. If you were watching Netflix during Covid-19, you will have most likely seen the advertisement for the highly anticipated Nicole Kidman drama The Goldfinch which was filmed in Albuquerque.

Completing the trifecta of film opportunities is of course the University of New Mexico (UNM), which stands to gain momentous traction from these film and production investments. As a Tier 1 research university with approximately 16,000 undergraduate students, it’s just the right size – not too large to get lost among the student body, and not too small to run into the same students every day.

UNM offers 200 majors, generous out-of-state scholarships, and excellent internships across the board, including programs for Film & Digital Arts (F&DA) department students. F&DA students get the full experience of making films, including how to from a production company, screenwriting, to set building, lighting, filming, and editing. If you are considering a film and related digital arts degree, I highly recommend you consider adding UNM to the college list. Students interested in cinematography, screenwriting, video game design, animation, visual storytelling, film historians, experimental artists and movie producers will all find their major at the University of New Mexico.