Albuquerque and New Mexico have become a center for television and filmmaking because of incentives and rebates offered by the State of New Mexico.
Chairman Herman Gallegos, Jicarilla Apache, and Senior Communications Strategist Ken Lingad, Isleta Pueblo, are the core of the company, which formed out of a long working relationship between the two.
“1680 is blessed that our business model didn’t call for any marketing,” Gallegos said. “We opened the agency with clients in existence already. Everyone who is part of the company has been working independently in the field for 20 years. We would decide to come together on projects, like an informal think tank, for 20 years, brokering deals in strategic communications. We were always running in the same circles. Now we’re working together as one.”
Photo courtesy 1680 PR 1680 PR Chairman Herman Gallegos.
Gallegos said 1680 PR, named for the year of the Pueblo Indian revolt against the Spanish in New Mexico, is geared to protect American Indian interests, because they are the company’s interests.
“We do consulting for large, national nonprofits, film studios, political entities, Smithsonian caliber artists and Grammy Award-winning musicians Black Eagle Singers from Jemez Pueblo. We represent and have strong ties with tribal entities around Indian country, so we have unique leverage because of these relationships. No other professional communications agency engages Indian country like we do.”
The company chose New Mexico’s largest city and Albuquerque Studios as its U.S. headquarters because of the state of the art technology there, as well as the proximity to the area’s burgeoning television and film industry.
“Albuquerque Studios are the number two go-to studio in the U.S. There’s a lot of energy there,” Gallegos said. “As feature film productions like ‘Terminator Salvation’ go to New Mexico, we’re now perfectly positioned to provide professional strategic communications consultation and public relations services there.”
Gallegos began to receive calls over the last few years from those in the film industry to represent both talent and movie productions. When 1680 PR formed in the spring, he was already working with tribal entities and the film business as a liaison, communicating the wishes of the tribes to the industry, and addressing the needs of the film industry and individual productions when they worked with tribes.
The Albuquerque Studios location won out over Santa Fe, where Gallegos and Lingad were looking, because of the enthusiasm the $91 million production facility showed.
“Where to locate was a question, and we almost agreed to go to Santa Fe, especially with our consulting in the political areas. But then it became apparent that with movies coming to Albuquerque, and that we were already consulting with Albuquerque area movies, that we should look there, too. When we inquired at Albuquerque Studios, it was a win/win. They really embraced us and made us feel at home,” Gallegos said. “Plus Ken lives on Isleta Pueblo, which is just south of there.”
Jason Hariton, vice president of operations for Albuquerque Studios, says they are pleased to have been chosen to house the company’s offices and its six full-time staff.
“1680 PR is a great addition to and an important part of what Albuquerque Studios does. We’re especially excited because of their outreach to the Native American community. That’s a big part of the outreach at Albuquerque Studios, as our crew base in New Mexico draws from our Native American population. In fact, we want more Native Americans to participate, whether as part of vendor companies, as crew, or on shooting locations. People think the film industry is only people from Hollywood flying in. But most of our crews are local.”
1680 PR has eight divisions, including a social media section, which will now be in the same building as offices of other film and television industry companies. Gallegos points to the company’s already international presence, through its staff and contractors, as an advantage over its competitors.
“We’ve already got a strong presence in Vancouver, Canada and are opening a London office in September. We’re also looking at China to expand into Asia, as well.”
According to Gallegos, the company is patterned after large agencies like William Morris or CAA in Los Angeles. The eight departments work in an interdisciplinary manner providing experience to both paid and unpaid interns.