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NMSU's Creative Media Institute part of New Mexico film industry documentary

"MADE IN NEW MEXICO," an hour-long documentary that takes an inside-look at the state's film and media industry, premieres Feb. 1 in Santa Fe. A week later when the film comes to Las Cruces, Creative Media Institute Director Phil Lewis hopes to fill the Rio Grande Theatre with students from New Mexico State University.

NMSU Creative Media Institute Director Phil Lewis was among those in Las Cruces interviewed for "MADE IN NEW MEXICO," a documentary about the state's film industry. The film, which also includes interviews with other professors and NMSU students, will show in Las Cruces on Wednesday, Feb 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rio Grande Theatre. (Photo by Darren Phillips)

Lewis and Lamaia Vaughn from Doņa Ana Community College's Creative Media Technology program were both interviewed for the documentary, which included local film students.

"We discussed the impact that our programs have on the film industry in general in New Mexico," said Lewis, "But also how we are a major economic stimulus for the less developed southern part of New Mexico. Between our programs at DACC and CMI we have over 600 currently enrolled students studying film."

The group "Film Las Cruces" is organizing the showing Wednesday, Feb. 8, at 6:30 p.m. in the Rio Grande Theatre. Shot and edited over a two-year period and financed largely through crowd funding, "MADE IN NEW MEXICO" includes interviews with union leaders, industry veterans, educators and students. It is produced and directed by New Mexico filmmakers David Jean Schweitzer and Brent Morris.

"It's been a long-standing goal to give back to this vital, artistic community in our state," co-director Brent Morris said.

"Making this film connected us with so many talented and wise people," said David Schweitzer. "By interviewing experts in the economics of the field, we've tried to create an honest portrayal of the industry's impact on New Mexicans."

The Las Cruces showing will allow NMSU students to interact with members of local film companies and talk about their projects with film industry professionals. Lewis says the film reinforces to students and the community that this region is fast becoming a mecca for independent films.

"Our industry is just now growing in Las Cruces and the region, but it is talented, hard-working, and is a force to be reckoned with," said Lewis. "Brent Morris' film will prove what we in southern New Mexico already know: THIS is the business to get into."

With literally hundreds of graduates over the next few years, Lewis says NMSU is expected to generate a talent pool of small businesses that will help support the economy of the region through its connection with the $78 billion film industry.