The City Different took the bronze Wednesday in a trade magazine’s rankings of the best U.S. cities to live and work in the film business.

Santa Fe, third on the annual MovieMaker Magazine list, slipped one slot below last year’s second-place rank. But the 2018 recognition marks three consecutive years Santa Fe has placed in the top five of the magazine’s “small city” category.

Ahead of Santa Fe this time around were, in order, New Orleans and Savannah, Ga.

“Since when was New Orleans a small town?” said Eric Witt, director of the Santa Fe Film Office, with a laugh.

Rounding out the top five were Pittsburgh and Ashland, Ore., with Providence, R.I., Richmond, Va.; and Cincinnati “on the cusp.”

Criteria for the rankings include the level of production, film infrastructure, tax incentives and general lifestyle.

The magazine highlighted Santa Fe’s historical bona fides as well as the state’s friendly tax rebates for film and television productions.

Witt said the laurel bolsters Santa Fe’s reputation in the competitive industry. “People really like being here,” he said. “That can be the tipping point for us. If you’re gonna be spending eight or 12 weeks somewhere, you want to be in a cool place.”

Film and television productions spent roughly $145 million in the Santa Fe area in the fiscal year ending last summer, according to Witt’s joint city-county office, which was more than double the amount spent the prior year.

An HBO series, Succession — with an executive-producer team of Jesse Armstrong, Will Ferrell, Kevin Messick, Adam McKay, Mark Mylod, Frank Rich and Jane Tranter — is currently filming an episode in the Santa Fe area. Witt said scouts from major studios were presently in Santa Fe, as well, though he demurred on specifics. “But we’re looking pretty good for the late spring going into summer,” he said. “I’m pretty confident we’ll be back up and busy.”

MovieMaker, a quarterly publication that calls itself the world’s most widely read independent film magazine, ranked Albuquerque sixth in its rankings for larger North American cities. Besting the Duke City were, in order, Atlanta, Vancouver, British Columbia, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York.

Contact Tripp Stelnicki at 505-428-7626 or