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Snowbate funding debate returns as new 'Mighty Ducks' series to be filmed in Canada

Updated: February 14, 2020 10:15 PM

The "quack attack" is making a comeback — but not in Minnesota. Disney Plus is filming a new series based on the popular "Mighty Ducks" movies.

Although the movies are set in the Twin Cities, the episodes are being shot in Canada.

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"Film industry is driven by production incentives," said Melodie Bahan, executive director of Minnesota Film and TV Board.

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Without enough bait, Minnesota didn't get the contract for its own story.

"They wanted to come here; they wanted to shoot here. And without the investment from the state, it's just not going to happen," said Bahan.

Unlike some other states who offer hefty tax incentives, Minnesota has a limited production rebate program, also called "snowbate."

The snowbate program offers a total $500,000 per year. Bahan says it's not enough — funds have already been drained through 2021.

"Timmy Failure a $45 million Disney movie that ended up in Portland because we didn't have a good incentive program," said Bahan.

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"Projects like 'Clouds' that wanted to shoot here, the Zach Sobiech story, but because of our incentive program, they went to Canada."

But some state lawmakers take issue with offering an incentive at all, saying taxes generated by that spending weren't enough to offset the program's cost.

But it's a hard pill to swallow for those who want Minnesota to stay on Hollywood's radar.

"Just on a pride level, a civic pride level, I hate seeing Minnesota stories being told by non-Minnesotans," said Bahan.

Last legislative session there was a push for state lawmakers to create a tax credit for production companies. And while some feel optimistic at the prospect, nothing moved forward.

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Crystal Bui

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