The never-ending trainwreck. That’s how many have looked back on 2016, and with good reason. From a glut of celebrity deaths to bombings, shootings and terrorist attacks to the presidential upset that shook the world, the repercussions have been seismic. For many, it is considered the worst year ever and it cannot come to an end soon enough.
For myself, 2016 was a mixed bag. Yes it had some ups and downs, but in terms of building a business servicing the film industry here in southern New Mexico, it was mostly uphill. Yes, we still have the naysayers to deal with and, yes, it occasionally feels like we’re being deliberately targeted for derailment, but overall our successes have outweighed our setbacks and for that, I am extremely grateful.
I still very much love what I’m doing and I believe I can say that for the rest of the crew working at Borderlands Media. We’ve added a few more people to our roster and we’ve taken on some very exciting projects. If anything, plans for next year are set to outstrip the last two years and, with luck and a lot of hard work, bring us new levels of success to make the company truly viable.
That’s a very exciting prospect! So, in keeping with the tradition of reliving the high points of the past year and stripping the low points of their potency, I present my annual chronological list of achievements, in words, pictures and film.
In January, PRC began what would become a year-long project working on the second season of Platicas, which had found a home on the local PBS affiliate KRWG-TV. The production of this series took us all across the southern part of the state, from Columbus to Ruidoso, with stops in Doña Ana Village, Alamogordo, Santa Teresa and El Paso along the way. It was a great learning experience, both as a filmmaker and as a student of history.
In February, we began pre-production on Lady Belladonna’s Night Shades, which would consume the better part of the year. It began with the Sins Of Man Short Film Contest, geared toward building buzz and generating interest among filmmakers who might have short films they would like to see become part of an anthology. The winner was announced in early March at the Las Cruces International Film Festival. That was followed by an extensive search for an actress to play our hostess, the Lady Belladonna and eventually to the production itself later in the year.
Earlier in the year, I was asked once again to take part in the Las Cruces Community Theatre’s One-Act Play Festival. I quickly brushed up an old film script I had laying around and on May 5 – 8, 2016, a stage version titled Livin’ The Dream premiered, starring Karen Buerdsell as Porsche and Donny Prosise as Jeremy. It was a great experience. One I look forward to repeating at some point… when I have the time.
Pre-production complete, on August 12th we drove to El Paso to film the bridge segments for Lady Belladonna’s Night Shades at Nequim Studios. As previously stated, it was an exhausting, but very productive, 17-hour day and really one of the best on-set experiences I had to date. Almost immediately we began editing together the footage, along with the four short films selected for the anthology, for an October release.
In September, Borderlands Media rolled out the red carpet for El Paso-based film Lost Padre Mine, with a well-received premiere at the Rio Grande Theatre. Most of the people associated with the movie, including director, actors and crew members showed up to celebrate the film’s official release in style.
Also in September, The Borderlands Media channel was launched on YouTube, presenting a weekly series called Production, which would take viewers behind the scenes of the various projects being worked on at PRC Productions. The series will continue its weekly schedule into the new year, with me as producer and Kent Harkey providing most of the film and edit work.
On October 21st, we held the red carpet premiere of Lady Belladonna’s Night Shades at the Rio Grande Theatre. It was a wonderful night, with close to 200 people attending, followed by a well-attended after party at the now defunct Main Street Bistro & Ale House.
Also in October, I fulfilled a dream I’d had for three years to edit a director’s cut of my first short film, The Baking Dead.
In November it was officially decided that my script for Cries In The Night would become the next feature film project for PRC Productions. Our crew went into overdrive, putting together a teaser trailer, building pitch packets, creating a website and making plans.
In early December, we wrapped the final episode of Platica’s second season at the New Mexico Museum of Space History, then Kent and I jumped into the production of a short film he and I wrote together called Light Signs. The production introduced several new crew members to the mix, all students at CMI, and was again an absolute joy on set. I think I could get used to this sort of thing…
So there you have it, a year summed up in a few quick clips. High points of a very productive moment in time. Reminders that, while the rest of the world may be teetering on the edge of apocalypse, we here in the borderlands are doing our part to make life a little less intolerable. And we’re doing it the old fashioned way – by using our imaginations to take people’s minds off their troubles.
If we don’t find ourselves sliding quickly into anarchy and barbarism, the next year should prove to be equally as productive. With pre-production already begun on Cries In The Night and plans to launch a new web series on our YouTube channel in the coming weeks, 2017 is already looking pretty bright.
So, whereas 2016 didn’t quite live up to the promises hoped for at this time last year, remember that the only thing we have control over is our own happiness. The world is an uncertain place and life, for all its ups and downs, is short. Living in fear, or sitting around moping because an overgrown Oompa Loompa has been elected president, won’t improve your life.
To make that happen, I reiterate what I said a year ago: love what you do and do what you love. To that I add, be kind, be thoughtful and don’t be quick to place blame. There is always more than one side to every story. Don’t let the internet dictate your views. And don’t forget to laugh often. Every situation can be vastly improved through a good belly laugh.
Now, let’s get out there and make the coming year the best it can possibly be!