Independent filmmakers Allison Powell and Lauren Brooks choose Las Cruces as the small town setting for their soon-to-be-released film.
Filmmaker Allison Powell credits a meeting in a Los Angeles coffee shop with Las Cruces Film Liaison Jon Foley for convincing her to film her movie about a young woman taking charge of her virginity, Banging Lanie, in Las Cruces. She says, “I could tell right away he was eager to help support our project and felt very confident that we would be in good hands in Las Cruces. I was eager to get my team to agree to film there, and with the tax credit it was a no brainer.”
Producer Lauren Brooks elaborates, “The entirety of principal photography was shot in Las Cruces. We’ll be picking up B-roll outside of Los Angeles, but otherwise everything was Las Cruces-based. It was an amazing opportunity to film in Las Cruces and work with the talented people in New Mexico. The idea to film in New Mexico was brought to us by Jon Foley, who reached out after seeing our crowd funding campaign. The decision was ultimately reached because of the tax credit offered by New Mexico, which allowed us to put all our funding into production, with post funded by the rebate. Las Cruces was specific because of Jon Foley’s involvement, outreach, and magnetism.”
In addition to the financial support, Las Cruces provided the small-town feel they wanted that was different from the usual LA high school look. Lauren says, “It offered locations at a lower rate with more production value than we could have found in Los Angeles. It also provided an opportunity to give back to the community we were filming in by having some Las Cruces-based crew and cast. Having gone to film school, it’s important for me to share my experience and give opportunities for experience to other aspiring filmmakers.”
A film being made here also supports the local economy. Lauren says, “We found great resources all over Las Cruces. We used a local catering company from Red Hawk Gold Course, we filmed at NMSU, we stayed at the local Motel 6, and so many wonderful residents opened their doors to us both for filming locations and accommodations. This project was only possible due to the help of the people of Las Cruces.”
The subject of the film is close to the hearts of these two young female filmmakers. Allison, who wrote, directed, and starred in the movie, says the film is very loosely based on her life growing up in a small town, where no one talked about sexuality. When she sent the script around to friends for comments, both female and male, the response was often, “That was just like me in high school.”
Lauren adds, “There’s a line in the film where Lanie says, ‘I had to figure it out for myself, because no one else is talking about this.’ I think that has a lot to do with why we all wanted to make this film. There are so many movies about male sexuality, American Pie, Superbad, Risky Business, just to name a few. But there’s so little out there about a young woman discovering herself that isn’t purely about romance or choosing between men. With the rise of #MeToo and TimesUp and the forward thinking that is changing the film industry, we all thought it was important to tell the story of a girl who owns her own body and herself.”
Banging Lanie will be released later this year online.