Commercial Filming

Year One movie set in White Sands
White Sands' dunefield has set the scene for westerns, science fiction, and apocalyptic films.

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Towering mountains, spectacular white dunes, crystal blue skies, stunning sunsets, and magical moonlit nights—all of these unique features form the amazing landscape at White Sands National Park. Half a million visitors from all over the world enjoy this beautiful place every year. If you watch TV, it is likely that you have seen White Sands! Hollywood has filmed more than 20 major movies here since 1950. Hundreds of commercials, music videos, TV shows, and documentaries have also been filmed here. Researchers from all over the world come here to investigate the unusual animals and geology here.

History of Filming

Since the early days of film on the silver screen, national parks have been popular destinations for photographers, videographers, and cinematographers. The rolling bright white sand dunes of White Sands National Park have set the scene for westerns, science fiction, and apocalyptic films. They have also provided a spectacular entourage for still photography of dawn and dusk, as well as for commercials featuring Rolls Royce, the Anheuser-Busch Clydesdales, Energizer Bunny, and Marlboro Man. Well known directors Steven Spielberg, Transformers, and Harold Ramus,Year One; actors Denzel Washington, Book of Eli,and Willem Defoe, White Sands: The Movie; and music performers Boyz II Men, Water Runs Dry, and Sara Evans, I Could Not Ask for More, have all spent time at White Sands capturing the dunes in their creative work.

 
Motion Pictures
Movie Production Date Production House
King Solomon's Mine 1950 MGM
Hang 'Em High 1968 United Artists
Scandalous John 1970 Disney
My Name is Nobody 1973 Titanus
Bite the Bullet 1974 Columbus
The Man Who Fell to Earth 1975 EMT
Convoy 1977 United Artists
Raw Courage 1983 RB Productions
Wrong is Right 1981 Columbia
Young Guns II 1990 Morgan Creek
Lucky Luke 1991 Paloma Films
White Sands 1991 Morgan Creek
New Eden 1993 HBO
Tank Girl 1994 MGM
Mad Love 1994 Disney
Astronaut Farmer 2005 Warner Independent
Transformers 2006 Dreamworks, LLC
Afterwards 2007 Et Apres, Inc.
Transformers 2 2008 Dreamworks, LLC
Year One 2008 Sony Pictures
The Men Who Stare at Goats 2008 Staring Goats, LLC
Book of Eli 2009 Eli Productions, LLC
Stargate Universe 2009 MGM
 
Documentary Videos & Television Shows
Documentary Production Date Production House
The West Series 1993 PBS
The Desert is No Lady 1993 Feline Films
Southwest 1994 BBC
Deserts 1994 Discovery Channel
Holloman Air Force Base 1996 Fox News
Science World 1997 TI-IN Network
Understanding Cars 1997 Discovery Channel
Extreme Machines - Military 2002 Discovery Channel
Planes 2002 N.F.B. of Canada
Einstein's Mind 2003 NOVA
The Elegant Universe 2003 University of Arizona
The Desert Speaks 2004 Seven Networks
The Great Outdoors 2004 Discovery Channel
The Wild and the West 2005 Media Factory
World's Greatest Scenery 2005 East West Media
Looking for America 2005 Video Time Spa
White Sands, New Mexico 2011 Profiles Television
 
Music Videos
Artist Song Production Date
The Scorpions Under the Same Sun 1993
Pink Floyd The End 1994
Boyz II Men Water Runs Dry 1995
George Lucas Kisses Don't Lie 1995
Daryl Singletary All Because of You 1996
Puff Daddy Best Friend 1999
Sara Evans I Could Not Ask for More 2001
Martina McBride How Far 2004
Mark Lonsdale She Should Have Gone to the Moon 2006
 
A Land In Motion
Produced by Henninger Productions in 2011, A Land in Motion, White Sands National Park’s 17-minute orientation film, captures the brilliant beauty of the white sands through stunning cinematography and captivating storytelling. The film crew made three trips to the park in 2010 to record the landscape in a variety of seasons. They filmed in the spring to capture the fierce winds that are common from March through May and are a key part of the dune formation story; then, in early summer, to work with researchers and understand the confluence of science and nature that has earned White Sands the nickname, “the Galapagos Islands of North America;” and finally, in late August, to film the summer monsoons to illustrate the critical role of water in this ecosystem.
Staff had one goal for the new orientation film: to share the beauty, wonder, awe, and scientific and cultural significance of the world’s largest gypsum dunefield with visitors. Using a mix of cinematography techniques and time lapse photography, the film guides viewers through the many moods of the dunefield and highlights the profound richness of the both natural and cultural resources of the white sands.
A Land in Motion is played every 30 minutes on the hour and half hour in the park’s visitor center during business hours. The film may also be purchased in the bookstore. If we have achieved our goal, this film will motivate you to get out and explore, understand, and be inspired by your national park.

Last updated: April 22, 2022

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