New Mexico has a growing film and television industry. Popular television series like “Breaking Bad” and “Longmire” have benefitted from the versatility here. The state’s natural beauty, varied terrain, and mix of rural and metropolitan communities make for a visual banquet for producers and cinematographers. Recently, independent film producer-director Leslie Thomas chose the East Mountains to bring her script, Thursday’s Child, to life. The shoot has utilized an original, period correct motor court, a locksmith shop, and an older house to recreate the script’s 1950s setting. While the film is shooting in Moriarty and Edgewood, New Mexico, these locales and buildings are doubling for a small desert town in California.

Thomas chose to film in the Greater Edgewood area, in part, because of the help of the chamber of commerce, and eager cooperation of local residents and business owners. This particular project is a micro-budget independent film, but still contributes to the local economy. Most of the cast and crew come from out of state, so lodging is needed. Set dressing, props, costuming, and period-correct vehicles are procured locally; many meals are purchased from local restaurants as cast and crew often work 12-hour days during filming; and crew vehicles all need to keep their gas tanks full. The production has even provided a few locals with new experiences, such as small parts in the production and intern positions.

In September, the newly-developed New Mexico Route 66 Film Fest, a project of member business RETRO 66, will premiere in Moriarty. The festival seeks entries filmed on or focusing on Route 66 with lengths ranging from 66 seconds up to 1 hour 66 minutes. The screenings will take place in the performing arts center. Thomas hopes to present a rough cut of Thursday’s Child at film fest, bringing the experience full circle.