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Published in the Lovington Leader, Lovington, New Mexico, January 22, 2013

Mary, Mary, Mary Haarmeyer: Knock, Knock, Knocking on Hollywood’s Door
History Notebook by Jim Harris
When I met Lovington’s Mary Haarmeyer and her movie-producer associate Cade Lawson for lunch last week, I asked Mary which of the “Mary” movies she most identified with, “There’s Something About Mary” or “Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary” or “Mary Poppins.”  With a broad smile on her face and without hesitating even for a second, she said “Mary Poppins,” the 1964 family musical starring Julie Andrews.  Some moviegoing readers may remember that the comedy “There’s Something About Mary” came out in 1998 and starred Cameron Diaz as a happy-go-lucky party girl, while “Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary” was a scary film released in 1975 and starring Christina Ferrare as a vampire who feasts on the blood of both men and women.  Those two fictional heroines definitely weren’t Lea County’s Mary who graduated from Lovington High in 1985 and immediately started to work.  These days Mary Haarmeyer wears a number of professional hats, including operating with her husband Andy a very successful Lovington business, Haarmeyer Electric, Inc. Company, which the couple created from scratch in 1986, which has been in operation for over 27 years, and which now has several dozen employees.  In addition to the job of raising a family and being active in her church, Mary’s other major business (one that some of her friends say is a passion for her) is making motion pictures, which she has done for the last five or six years and in which she has been engaged with just about as much enthusiasm as she did the creation and development of her family’s electrical company. Mary has also owned and operated two other companies, A & M Leasing and Maroland, LLC and now T-RO Films, LLC.  To say that Mary is enthusiastic about her movie making is definitely an understatement. Her love of cinema is similar to Warren Buffet’s love of successful business companies, or Arnold Palmer’s love of golf, or Vice President Biden’s love of talking. At our luncheon last week, there was only one other individual at our table who demonstrated the degree of excitement and enthusiasm for the business of making motion pictures as Mary.  That was her film making partner Cade. Cade is a very knowledgeable and bright twenty-three-year-old man who used to date Mary’s daughter and who is about to complete his degree in business at the University of New Mexico. Also from Lovington, Cade joined in a business partnership with Mary’s Reelflicks Production, a company in which Cade serves as the producer for the company’s films, many of which are scripts written by Mary. What does Mary do in the company? The short answer to thatquestion is “Just about everything.”  In the last six years, during the development of her movie making skills and talents, Mary has worked as a writer, director, camera operator, actor, lighting and sound technician, set designer, caterer, and anything else that needed to be done before, during, and after filming.  Mary’s considerable film talents were demonstrated in Lovington four years ago when she premiered her first movie at the Lea Theater. This short narrative film, “Forget Me Not,” was written and directed by Mary and starred several Lovington residents.  That initial Mary Haarmeyer movie received much attention not only in Lovington but also in New Mexico and in California. Her screenplay was a finalist in the Gimmie Credit International Screenplay competition held in Los Angeles in 2007. Mary’s film, “Forget Me Not”, created from that script, went on to win a spot in the Santa Fe International Film Festival in 2008.  What she has done since that initial success is immerse herself in movie making. She has traveled to Hollywood a dozen times to learn and experience the complicated and complex collaborative art.  Since she and Cade teamed up, the two of them have been learning the movie business from the inside out. Cade has been focusing on the production and marketing of movies, creating his own new and fiscally savvy model for making films. One of the most important hings that Mary has learned in the last six years is that she does not
want to make movies like folks in Hollywood usually do. Traditionally, out in the hills west of Los Angeles, the movie people start out on the artistic side of the process–finding a good script and employing a marketable actor–before considering the financial and marketing side of the process. Mary is a conservative businesswoman, and she wants to insure that she takes care of business before she “makes” a movie, that is, before she attempts to turn a good written story into a good visual narrative that people will pay to view. She wants to have the film fully funded in order to allow the actors and crew several weeks lead time to prepare for the role and schedule time off.  Both Cade and Mary look with dismay on the usual Hollywood approach to creating a cinema, but that has not discouraged them or dampened their enthusiasm for the modern art form created in the last few years with new sophisticated digital cameras. Presently, Mary is working on four different movies, two of them feature-length productions that she hopes will one day open in movie theaters around the world. Here are the titles to those films: “Dagger’s Draw” and “Foreseeable,” both of which are in a preproduction stage of development; “Antioch” and “Death Everlasting,” both of which are in production, which means they are being shot and edited now. The producer in LA is thinking about changing the name of “Death Everlasting” a romantic comedy, to “Over My Dead Body” a usual occurrence in film. Mary’s scripts are comedies, thrillers, dramas, horror, and supernatural thrillers. Like her many roles in film, Mary wants to write scripts for every genre, something that is frowned upon in Hollywood. Some of Mary’s films are horror films, but she hopes they are not going to be horror films like the one mentioned at the beginning of this History Notebook.  However, when a script is bought by a producer, they have the final say in regards to violence. She says, “I’m not sure my films will have a PG rating, but I would really like to keep them that way if at all possible.” Mary would like to create a movie that such as “Mary, Mary, Bloody Mary,” which would probably receive an “R” rating in today’s film classification system, which is something they did not have back in 1975 when the bloody film was released.
When Mary, Cade, and I met for lunch last week, they passed along to me an investment package for one of Reelflicks Productions (entitled “Foreseeable”) so that I could see one of their approaches to getting movies made. The package is a summary of the proposed story and a detailed breakdown of such things as the director, the actors, and of course the costs and use of funds to be made in creating the film.  Mary is putting into practice her plan of securing money before she does many of the expensive activities in developing a movie. This is where Cade shines in their partnership. He is the person out there in the crowds working on marketing the project to individuals and companies where they can make a successful film that will generate money for its investors. Movie making is a complicated and complex process finally involving hundreds or thousands of people, and if there is anyone in Lea County with the talent and drive to make a feature length hit movie, it’s Mary Haarmeyer.  When we had lunch last week, I did not mention to her all of the “Mary” movies that have been made. There have been dozens of them. Perhaps if I had mentioned some more, she might have found another one with which to identify. But I predict one of these days the expression “Mary movie”will have a meaning other than denoting the heroine in a movie.  Sometime in the future in our part of New Mexico, the term “Mary movie” will refer to a film made by Lovington’s Mary Haarmeyer, a heroine in more than one real-life Lea County story.