Governor announces $1.1 million for Kearny Film Studio and Education Center in Raton
RATON – Gov. Michelle Lujan Grisham announced today that her administration has pledged $1.1 million in capital outlay to support a new film and media school and studio in Raton.
The City of Raton, in partnership with the nonprofit El Raton Media Works, is planning renovations of the old Kearny Elementary School to create the Kearny Film Studio and Education Center. The Center will launch its first training courses in summer 2023, followed by a professional soundstage and XR (Extended Reality) studio in winter 2025.
“I commend Raton leadership for their vision for this center, which will provide training to New Mexicans in this successful and innovative industry, as well as additional capacity for filmmaking in northern New Mexico,” said Gov. Lujan Grisham. “That means more high-paying jobs, more economic development and more money spent in the community of Raton.”
“Raton is reinventing itself as a hub for the film and industry, and projects like these will propel us into the future,” said Raton Mayor Neil Segotta Jr. “And this is just the tip of the iceberg. I’m grateful to Gov. Lujan Grisham for her continued support to our community.”
The City of Raton and El Raton Media Works plans to partner with Santa Fe Community College to teach film/media curriculum. Santa Fe Community College is a partner of the New Mexico Media Academy, announced by the governor this spring as the Next Generation Media Academy.
A key priority for Gov. Lujan Grisham is to expand economic opportunities to rural regions in New Mexico and invest in workforce training so students in Raton and other communities can pursue opportunities closer to home.
The Kearny Film School is an exciting initiative that will further establish and enhance New Mexico’s already impactful film industry and broaden workforce training opportunities for New Mexicans. In FY2022, over $850 million in direct spending was generated from the film and television industry, with a record-breaking $50 million in spending in rural communities like Raton. The industry not only impacts the New Mexico economy with revenue, but also has over 660,000 worker days and an average salary of $70,000 per year for film workers.
“We are very excited to be working with the City of Raton to open this XR soundstage and media training facility and hope to bring economic and workforce development to this Northern New Mexico region,” said Ann Theis, Film Liaison for the City of Raton. “This industry doesn’t just bring in one type of job, it brings in every type of job from restaurants to lodging, craftsman culinary arts and more. We hope to bring those skills and jobs to Raton and the surrounding area.”