A version of this was published in The Santa Fe New Mexican
October 12, 2006
Everyone knows Gov. Bill Richardson loves Hollywood. And soon his name will be appearing in movie credits.
No, major studios aren’t clamoring over rights to a feature-length version of the Richardson campaign’s “sheriff” commercials on TV.
The rules for a recent competition in which young filmmakers are seeking state grant money require that credits on any film they submit have to thank the governor.
On the state Film Office Web page announcing the program, potential applicants were told, “Awardees will acknowledge Governor Richardson and the New Mexico Film Office’s New Visions/New Mexico Program in the end credits of the completed film.”
The New Visions/New Mexico program, according to a news release earlier this year, offers a total of $160,000 in contracts “for New Mexico-based producers and directors to create narrative films, documentaries, animation and experimental works.” Individuals can get up to $20,000 for a project.
A total of 230 filmmakers applied, Film Office Director Lisa Strout said Wednesday.
Not all were seeking the maximum amount. “I heard that one was asking for $100,” she said.
The deadline for submissions was last week.
Funding recipients will be announced in December.
As for acknowledging Richardson, Strout said she wasn’t aware that was a requirement.
“What’s important is acknowledging the state,” Strout said. Specifically mentioning the governor, she said, “isn’t a requirement in my mind.”
Who knows, maybe one of these films acknowledging Richardson will go on to win the next Bill Richardson Film Achievement Award — the annual award established this year by the College of Santa Fe for outstanding national and regional contributions to film.
Oughta be in pictures: Richardson, of course, won’t be the first New Mexico governor to see his name in film credits.
Former Gov. David Cargo oversaw creation of New Mexico’s first state Film Office in 1968. According to its Web site, this was the first state agency in the country “whose primary goal was to enhance economic development via motion picture production.”
But Cargo didn’t stop there. He actually appeared in some movies made in the state.
According to the Internet Movie Guide, Cargo’s roles were as follows:
He played a lowly newspaper reporter in The Good Guys and the Bad Guys in 1969 — though his name didn’t appear in the credits. Some names that did appear in the credits in this Western were Robert Mitchum, George Kennedy and David Carridine.
The next year, Cargo had a bit part in a comedy called Up in the Cellar, which starred Larry Hagman and Joan Collins.
Cargo played a state trooper in Bunny O’Hare, a comedy that starred Bette Davis and Ernest Borgnine as a pair of golden-aged bank robbers.
And he played “Cpl. Benton” in a Western called The Gatling Gun, (shot in 1969, but not released until 1973).
Unfortunately, it appears Cargo was the biggest name in that movie.
What’s in a name?: A little mea culpa here. In Wednesday’s paper, I reported the Drug Policy Alliance contributed $25,000 to Richardson’s re-election campaign. Reena Szczepanski, who heads the local DPA office, says that’s not quite true. It actually was the Drug Policy Alliance Network that gave him the money.
The DPAN is affiliated with DPA, but they are funded separately. As Szczepanski explains it, donations to DPA are tax deductible, but donations to DPAN aren’t. Thus, DPA is not legally able to contribute to political candidates while DPAN is.
Also, billionaire George Soros — who as an individual gave Richardson $25,000 — sits on the DPA board, but not the DPAN’s.
Got all that?
Of course, all this only begs the question: Why is this drug-law-reform group giving so much money to Richardson?
True, Richardson came out this year in favor of a medical-marijuana bill — though he didn’t twist enough arms to get the bill through the House.
But Richardson frequently has criticized his predecessor Gary Johnson for advocating marijuana decriminalization. Richardson has made it clear he doesn’t want the state known for wanting to legalize drugs.
During his first month in office, Richardson stood side by side with national drug czar John Walters, a committed drug warrior, calling the visit “a symbolic meeting to show we support (Walters’) mission.”
And just last summer when John Dendahl got the GOP nomination for governor, several members of Richardson’s team attacked the Republican for his past support of several of DPA/DPAN’s basic positions on liberalizing marijuana laws.
“We welcome the opportunity to hear John Dendahl explain his pro-drug legalization plan throughout the campaign,” read a Richardson press release hours after Dendahl was nominated.
Of course, the $11.6 million Richardson campaign also welcomes the opportunity to collect campaign contributions.
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