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Hollywood crews could be coming to Las Cruces

By: Stephanie Guadian
LAS CRUCES, N.M. - Hollywood could soon set its sights on Las Cruces. The city is planning to build a backlot set for movies near the airport. The hope is to lure filmmakers and their big budgets to Southern New Mexico. Movie studios build sets on a backlot -- which can be changed to resemble different cities or time periods.

Dr. Phil Lewis is a professor at New Mexico State Universitys Creative Media Institute. I think this is a great opportunity to literally have 100 or more students or alumni of our programs on the sets working year round, said Dr. Lewis.

Thanks to some help from local representatives, part of the state's budget will be used to build the backlot. And it's not only students who will benefit.

Every time a film comes to town, they come with an enormous budget. And that budget is spent of people staying at hotels, eating at restaurants, said Lewis. The city of Las Cruces would own the backlot and make money though taxation.

We have the good weather. We have some very ambitious and well trained workforce. And the workforce is really where it is at, said Lewis.

Construction is expected to begin later this year. A kickoff event is set for March 25 in front of the Rio Grande Theater in downtown Las Cruces. The public is invited to the event that starts at 11:30 a.m.