During a recent town hall meeting, the New Mexico Film Office announced that two feature films are using northwest New Mexico this spring as main production locations.

The science fiction film "The Host" is filming in Shiprock, in addition to the well-publicized filming of Johnny Depp's "The Lone Ranger."

"The Host," according to the Film Office, "tells the story of a highly secretive government research facility that suffers a containment breach of a genetically engineered new life form. The results are catastrophic."

The local filmmaking is great news for this area. It means Farmington, San Juan County and the entire Four Corners region is still on the radar for producers, scouts and casting agencies looking for the perfect place to make movie magic happen.

When production companies set up shop in local towns, many benefit. Hotel rooms are full, restaurants are enjoyed and shops and stores are frequented. It's a win-win for the economy.

The town hall meeting was held at San Juan College to encourage local residents to get involved in the film industry. So how do we get involved? One of the best ways to catch Hollywood's attention is to photograph possible locations and upload them to the Film Office's website, NMfilm.com.

New Mexico has the largest database of location photos in the nation with more than 60,000 photos.

Another incentive, although hotly debated in the Legislature, to lure both big-ticket and low-budget productions is a 25 percent film production tax credit and a loan program that New Mexico offers. This is helpful in giving companies an added ease when it comes to paying the bills associated with filming.

New Mexico also may benefit from a comeback of the Western genre. It seems everyone wants a piece of the action and with ample area for which to film, New Mexico is perfect for capturing John Wayne-esque adventures.

It's also nice to know that northwest New Mexico, specifically, isn't forgotten when it comes to sharing in New Mexico's lively movie-making industry.

We hope this means more is to come.