Financial Incentives Bring Films to Minnesota

Updated: 06/03/2014 5:35 PM
Created: 06/03/2014 2:36 PM

Financial incentives designed to lure filmmakers to Minnesota appear to be doing the trick. This can mean big bucks for the local economy.

Five feature films have been qualified for funding since Minnesota reinstated the "snowbate" program last August. This provides rebates to film companies; it gives 20 percent of what the filmmakers spend in the state, and 25 percent if they shoot outside of the Twin Cities Metro Area.

Two films are qualified and are going to be in Northeast Minnesota, "Heart of Wilderness" and "After the Reality", which will be filmed on Crane Lake near the Canadian border.  Five more additional films are scheduled to begin filming in Northeast Minnesota later this year.

Riki McManus, the director of the Upper Minnesota Film Office, says that when movie productions come in they typically spend half their budget on location.

"The big wave is definitely coming, and we're already feeling it," McManus said.

The state has 10 million allocated, state auditor Jim Noble says this has prompted a discussion about how much of a role the state should play in recruiting the film industry.

"If you don't offer incentives, you are not in the game," said the board director Lucinda Winter, who hopes to extend the program when it expires next year.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Photo: KSTP/File

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