Bundles of cables ring the Las Vegas plaza like a wreath. Movie set crews, all New Mexicans, maneuver vehicles, lights and props while locally hired security people and cops steer people and traffic around the shoot for “Granite Mountain,” based on the Arizona firefighters who battled an epic blaze to save a town.
The cast and crew seem to have the run of the Plaza Hotel, where we’re staying. For everybody, it’s good business.
A gallery owner tells us the movie makers are paying every store on the plaza for the inconvenience and lost business. “Obviously, it didn’t keep you from coming in, and it’s a nice gesture,” she says.
“Granite Mountain” employs 190 New Mexico crew members, 40 New Mexico actors, and about 1,300 New Mexico background talent, according to the state Film Office.
This is a snapshot of a New Mexico success story. Against a backdrop of dreary economic numbers, the movie and television industry dazzles. Direct spending into the state economy for the fiscal year ending June 30 was $387 million, up from $288 million the year before – a new record.