Filming Near Albuquerque
Enjoy information about filming in Rio Rancho, Zia Pueblo and the Estancia Valley.
Rio Rancho is perched atop the vast expanse of the West Mesa. The city has an abundance of open space, unobstructed views and diverse terrain. It is located near hundreds of acres of undeveloped land that can be permitted for location filming. Situated along the Rio Grande Valley, Rio Rancho combines lush green land with a splendid view of desert flora. Rio Rancho is also known for its industry with many large corporations and several major call centers.
Why film in Rio Rancho?
Versatile Locations: Rio Rancho’s filming locations include high-tech corporations, major call centers and neighborhoods that capture the feeling of Americana.
Free Assistance: The Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau is your one-stop source for cost-effective film projects. Our service-oriented staff offers quick turnaround to finalize locations, city permits, equipment and hotel accommodations.
One-Stop Permitting: Rio Rancho is the place for versatile, affordable and hassle-free location shoots. Few permits are needed to film in the Rio Rancho area, which makes production easy and cost-effective. We will also help with obtaining permits:
- when filming requires street/lane blockage or closures
- when filming obstructs pedestrian traffic
- when filming open space, public parks or historical sites
- when filming on federal, state and tribal lands
Rio Rancho city personnel, including police traffic control, are available at $32 per hour per employee. City services, including the use of heavy equipment, are billed on an hourly basis at cost. All fees must be paid in advance.
Contact Rio Rancho:
Rio Rancho Convention and Visitors Bureau
3200 Civic Center Circle NE
Rio Rancho, NM 87144
Zia Pueblo is located 35 miles northwest of Albuquerque. The pueblo is situated beside the Jemez River atop a small mesa which provides a spectacular view of the surrounding areas. Zia Pueblo has 150,000 acres of pine forest, red bluffs, white mesas, sink holes and clear, unimpeded sight lines in each direction. Behind the pueblo lie the Nacimiento Mountains and the Pajarito and Jemez Plateaus. The pueblo population is approximately 730, and many in the Zia community have served as extras, crew and security on various films.
Why Film on Zia Pueblo?
Land: Zia Pueblo has 150,000 acres of secluded land just waiting to be your very own private movie lot. The pueblo will be happy to provide you with a guide to assist you in finding just the right backdrop for your next project.
Easy Permit Process: Many pueblos require that permission be obtained through the pueblo council. At Zia Pueblo, you will work directly with the Tribal Administrator, Peter Pino. Peter can approve all locations and has the authority to negotiate all agreements.
Industry Experience: Seventeen years of experience with the film industry.
Zia Pueblo’s Unique Attractions:
- Annual Feast Day/Corn Dances (August 15)
- Zia Lake
- Zia Cultural Center
Important Nearby Locations:
- Cabezón Peak
- Jemez Indian Reservation
- Santa Ana Indian Reservation
Contact Zia Pueblo:
Carmelita Conn, Tribal Administrator
135 Capitol Square Drive
Zia Pueblo NM 87053-6013
505.280.1889 ext 20
Belen has been a favorite place in New Mexico for Hollywood movie makers to shoot their films since the early 1970s.
Belen offers a downtown that can be shaped to look like many times and places, with wide streets, proximity to Albuquerque’s movie studios, and a welcoming city government that provides logistical support throughout production.
To date, Belen has been the backdrop for at least 17 Hollywood movies, two miniseries, and at least two television shows.
Stars like Morgan Freeman, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Kevin Costner, Forest Whitaker and David Bowie have spent time in Belen making movies that sometimes transformed areas of the city to fit the character of the small towns where the movies are set.
Belen Mainstreet Partnership
PO Box 463
Belen, NM 87002
The Estancia Valley lies in the “Heart of New Mexico” just 21 miles from the Albuquerque City Limits and a comfortable 30 drive will take you on a breath taking adventure through a time travel back as far as the late 1700’s. The valley has been home to many films and historical documentaries over the past several years.
From films on the Historic Route 66 to Westerns, our communities enjoyed helping with the making of movies such as Silverado, Lonesome Dove, The Wild Wild West, Suspect Zero, 21 Grams, The Cowboys and many more. We welcome and roll out the red carpet for the film industry and can help in a variety of ways. With a large population and all the conveniences of the big city with a rural flavor, we are sure to compliment all film types.
If you need additional information regarding film making in any of our communities, please contact our Economic Development Director, Myra Pancrazio at (505) 832-5428 or (505) 799-6301.
Permits in Other Places
Bureau of Land Management & U.S. Forest Service
The BLM Field Office will issue “minimum impact” permits for production purposes. Permits may be issued at the BLM Field Office after it has been determined that the filming activity will have a minimum impact on public land. A reasonable amount of time is needed to process the permit; the rule of thumb is two weeks.
Albuquerque BLM Field Office
(505) 761-8700, fax (505) 761-8911. The local Forest Ranger District Office grants permits. The permit process includes completing an application, obtaining standard liability insurance coverage and providing a summary of the shoot. A two-week review period is requested. Forest fire restrictions may apply.
U.S. Forest Service
- Cibola National Forest: (505) 346-3900
- Magdalena Ranger District: (505) 854-2281
- Mountainair Ranger District: (505) 847-2990
- Sandia Ranger District: (505) 281-3304
- Mt. Taylor Ranger District: (505) 287-8833
Each individual Park Superintendent issues National Park Service Permits. A two-week application-reviewing period is requested. The application process entails a $100 non-refundable application fee, a possible performance bond (depending on the extent of the shoot) and a minimum $100 per day location fee. Other costs may include Park Rangers fees to monitor production.
- Petroglyph National Monument
(505) 899-0205, fax (505) 899-0207
- Salinas Pueblos Missions
(505) 847-2585 ext. 21, fax (505) 847-2441
All State Parks require a Special Use Permit and at least a two-week notice. The minimum cost for a Special Use Permit is $15 and increases depending on the scope and needs of the project. Permits can be issued by the Park Superintendent but may be referred to the State office, depending on the scope of the project.
- Coronado Campground
Bernalillo: (505) 980-8256
- Rio Grande Nature Center
Albuquerque: (505) 344-7240
- Manzano Mountains State Park
Mountainair: (505) 847-2820
The intent of the permit system for State Monuments is to ensure that the historic and natural features are protected and visitor use is unimpeded. A Special Use Permit and a thirty-day notice (preferred) are required for any filming intended for public viewing or commercial advertising. The administrative non-refundable fee is $50. Still photography is $100 per day and film and video is $250 per day.
Coronado State Monument
Bernalillo: (505) 867-5351