Variety reported on March 2, 2009 that Christy Walton, heiress to the Walton fortune, had set up Tenaja Productions company solely to finance a film adaptation of Bless Me, Ultima. Monkey Hill Films' Sarah DiLeo is billed as producer with collaboration and support from Mark Johnson (producer) of Gran Via Productions (Rain Man, Chronicles of Narnia) and Jesse B. Franklin of Monarch Pictures. Carl Franklin (One False Move, Devil in a Blue Dress, Out of Time) was tapped as a writer and director. Walton and DiLeo shared a passion for the book, and the latter had succeeded in convincing Anaya to agree to the adaptation over six years back.
Shooting was scheduled in the Abiquiú area, and then resumed in Santa Fe for some interiors at Garson Studios on the Santa Fe University of Art and Design campus during the last week in October 2010. Filming wrapped in Santa Fe, New Mexico in late 2010. The film premiered at the Plaza Theatre in El Paso, Texas on September 17, 2012 and received a general release in February 2013.