Film workers on “Rust” set blame out-of-state-leaders

Nobody has fought New Mexico’s wasteful film subsidy program more vociferously and for longer than the Rio Grande Foundation. That said, we were shocked and horrified at the deadly shooting that recently took place on the set of a film outside of Santa Fe.

There are still a lot of details to uncover, but according to a recent Albuquerque Journal article which details some of the issues on-set, there were some serious well-known problems even before the shooting.

“From not getting paid on time – some waited nearly seven weeks for their paychecks – to the day-to-day schedules never finding a routine.” This is of course an industry that gets reimbursed for 25 to 35% of its expenses in New Mexico and yet they can’t pay their workers on time?

“The production refused to pay for hotels for crew members – most of whom drove from nearly an hour away from the set – after working long shifts.” Again, this sounds unsafe and is hard to square with the subsidies given.

“Two ‘Rust’ crew members laid the blame for some of the issues in the production on certain out-of-state leaders.”

Is an industry that fails to pay its workers basic benefits and brings in leadership from out of state (not just talent) really a sensible recipient of massive amounts of New Mexico tax dollars?