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Grand opening scheduled for NMSU's Creative Media Institute

A representative from Gov. Bill Richardson's office, New Mexico State University President Michael Martin, and NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost William Flores will speak at the grand opening of the Creative Media Institute for Film and Digital Media (CMI) at New Mexico State University.

The grand opening is scheduled for 6 p.m. Friday, Sept. 29, at CMI in Milton Hall on the NMSU campus.

The opening remarks kick off a series of events that evening and the next day. After the official grand opening, the movie "100 MPG" will be shown at 6:30, 7:30, and 8:30 p.m. Also, tours of the institute, filmmaking and other demonstrations will be available from 6 to 9 p.m.

The schedule for Saturday, Sept. 30, is highlighted by five film seminars, presented by noted graduates and New Mexico filmmakers.

Ed Vega, an NMSU fine arts graduate and sculptor, will present the first seminar, beginning at 11 a.m. Vega has worked in the entertainment industry since the late 1980's and was the art director or scenic artist on "Selena," "Spy Kids," "Spy Kids II" and "Believe in Me." He currently is working on "The Flock" with Richard Gere.

The next seminar, at 1 p.m., will be hosted by NMSU journalism graduate and three-time Emmy winner Esther Reyes. For seven years, she produced documentaries for public television before she started writing, directing, and producing documentaries and reality television programs for all four major commercial networks: PBS, USA, the WB, and F/X. Reyes will show clips from her current production of "30 Days" for the F/S channel.

At 3 p.m., Andrew Shea, an assistant professor in the Department of Radio-Television-Film at the University of Texas at Austin, will show clips from his award-winning independent feature, "The Corndog Man." His features have been shown at the Sundance Film Festival, on HBO and on Cinemax. Shea won the Emerging Filmmaker Award at the St. Louis International Film Festival, founded the New Mexico Repertory Theatre, and teaches directing and film and video production at UT-Austin.

The fourth seminar, beginning at 5:30 p.m., will be hosted by Don Foster, an NMSU Theatre Arts graduate. Foster is co-executive producer for the TV show, "Two and a Half Men." Besides writing for that show, he also has written for "Rosanne" and "Dharma & Greg."

Rounding out the seminar series will be NMSU Theatre Arts graduate Ed Stone who will screen his soon-to-be-released directorial debut, "Griffin and Phoenix," at 7 p.m. Stone received accolades for writing "Happy, Texas," which appeared at the Sundance Film Festival and featured Steve Zahn, who won a Special Jury Prize for Best Comedic Performance. Stone has written for "Racing Stripes," "Haunted Mansion," Scooby Doo," "Scooby Doo 2," "Stuart Little" and "Stuart Little 2." He also wrote and produced the pilot "Big Fat Cops" for Fox Broadcasting Company.

The Creative Media Institute is a cross-disciplinary program that prepares students in animation, digital filmmaking, and game development by focusing on storytelling. Even though students choose one area of emphasis, they study all areas of the digital arts, to include directing, writing, animation, cinematography and video game design.

"Through the Creative Media Institute, NMSU has embraced innovation in technology, and with that, new opportunities for education," said U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, D-N.M., who secured $1.5 million for CMI. "I look forward to the growth of the media industry in New Mexico and I pledge to continue my support for your efforts."

New Mexico state Sen. Mary Jane Garcia said she is proud to have been involved with CMI since its inception.

"This institute is very valuable to New Mexico because it will furnish future job growth in our state," Garcia said. "The Creative Media Institute will provide the skills a local workforce will need in order to support the fast growth of film and media production in New Mexico."

Garcia said she will continue to support the efforts of the institute and that she hopes to work closely with CMI during the next legislative session.

"This would not have been possible were it not for Senator Bingaman, the New Mexico State Legislature, who made sure we had the funding, and NMSU Executive Vice President and Provost William Flores who also helped us in many, many ways," said Carmen Gonzales, vice president for student success and dean of the College of Extended Learning.

Bob Nosbisch
Sept. 27, 2006