Ambassadors pitch New Mexico to H'wood

Nonprofit group touts state's incentives at reception

The Amigos, New Mexico's traveling band of goodwill ambassadors, came to Los Angeles on Wednesday offering up silver roadrunners for guests' lapels and a good-natured warning to filmmaking rivals.

"We're No. 3 in the U.S. behind California and New York, but we're taking over," Gov. Bill Richardson said during a cocktail reception at the Four Seasons in Beverly Hills.

He noted that the state has brought in $3 billion worth of economic activity from productions during the past seven years. Recent projects include the Coen brothers' "True Grit" remake, Marvel's "Thor," USA's "In Plain Sight," AMC's "Breaking Bad" and the new ABC series "Scoundrels."

Lisa Strout, director of the New Mexico Film Office in Santa Fe, said the Land of Enchantment's goal is to become a production "satellite" to Hollywood and an economic engine for the state. New Mexico adopted its film production tax credit in 2002.

The nonprofit Amigos -- civic, business, industrial and professional leaders who devote time and financial support to the organization -- have been doing this kind of thing for more than four decades. This trip featured dozens of members, stop-overs in Palm Springs and Monterey and a visit with California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger.

Industry execs on hand at the shindig put together by Sarah Robarts and Ballantines PR included Warner Bros. Entertainment president (and Southwestern art collector) Alan Horn, Lionsgate TV production exec Gary Goodman and director Donald Petrie.
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