When you need to launch a car from a cliff for your movie shoot in Los Alamos County, who you gonna call? The answer is County Film Liaison Kelly Stewart. Chee Ho, location manager for the independent film Hellbent did so just recently.
“Kelly has made a tremendous difference to our coming here,” Ho said. “She’s an invaluable asset.”
Launching the car was the easy part, Ho said. Cleaning up every speck of debris was the tough part. The crew also hauled up many years-worth of beer bottles tossed over the cliff by generations of partiers.
“We spent four days fixing everything damaged,” Ho said. “A crew of eight hauled up every single piece of the car.” The area was then seeded with $400 worth of seed. “By next year, it will look better than when we started,” Ho said.
Hellbent is the story of a young girl in search of her father. She hooks up with a drifter and they run afoul of crooked lawmen. This results is a car chase across four states – Texas, Colorado, Wyoming and Montana. All of these states are actually New Mexico film locations. The area off N.M. 4 near Camp May plays Montana.
“The script calls for a winding canyon with a cliff and a river in an alpine area,” Ho said. The entire film was shot within a 60-mile zone encompassing Santa Fe and Albuquerque. Other scenes were shot in the Pecos and in Las Vegas among other locations.
“The incentives and infrastructure drove the decision to shoot in New Mexico,” Ho said. Competition for crews is keen right now as a number of films and TV shows are filming now, he said. New Mexico has the third largest film industry in the nation, after New York and Los Angeles.
“Crews out here are great,” Ho said. “People here are somewhat less jaded. It’s a new industry. People here are in the business because they love it.”
Filming has wrapped and now the editing process begins. The producers hope to have the film ready for the festival circuit early next year.