Corlina Kiernan’s first job as a production assistant in New Mexico brought her to White Sands National Park in midsummer for a one-day shoot.

She wore welding goggles to protect her eyes from the sun, which beat down from above and reflected off the sand below.

But others in the production’s cast and crew didn’t bring the right gear to protect themselves from sunburns. It was Kiernan’s job, then, to drive about 30 minutes to the closest convenience store and nearly clear out its selection of sunglasses, sunscreen and SPF lip balm.

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Milton Riess, chair of the Film and Digital Arts Department, checks some of the lighting equipment in a studio at the Santa Fe Community College last week.

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Students and faculty in Santa Fe Community College’s film department operate camera and lighting equipment. The college is offering a production assistant training program meant to help fill the growing need for production assistants in Santa Fe, which has hosted five major television productions since spring 2022.

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