Lady Dynamite Shines The Spotlight On Minnesota’s Film Industry
Lady Dynamite, the latest piece of original programming from subscription streaming service Netflix, has been captivating viewers and critics, with accolades claiming it “reinvents the stand-up sitcom” and is “2016’s must-see TV show.”
The half-hour comedy series, in fact, is not the first Netflix production to utilize Minnesota this year (that distinction goes to Hannibal Buress: Comedy Camisado, a stand-up special released in February and shot at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis). Nevertheless, in Lady Dynamite, star Maria Bamford (well known for her series of Target commercials) took full advantage of the state to showcase her Duluth upbringing.
According to the Minnesota Film and TV Board, the state-sponsored office that oversees local film projects, the series shot in Minnesota from November 4 to 11 of last year. The production remained within the Twin Cities area, specifically at the Willard School in Minneapolis, as well as in South St. Paul, and Roseville for the Bamford family house scenes. (Minnesota Film and TV executive director Lucinda Winter notes that recently announced indie flick Spinning Man has also set up a production office in Roseville.)
Altogether, the eight days of Lady Dynamite shooting led to $1,309,454 in production-related costs. Approximately 142 Minnesotans were hired, a significant number of whom were featured on camera.
Per the state’s film reimbursement program Snowbate, Lady Dynamite was able to recoup a quarter of its expenditures, amounting to $327,363.
The Snowbate program has amassed critics over the years, but with incentive programs largely determining where film projects land, many believe the prospect of a multi-thousand or multi–million dollar production could be an economic boon for the state.
State legislators appear to agree: Both the state House and Senate voted in favor of a plan to boost funding for Snowbate on Sunday.
“We got this appropriation in the state’s big economic development bill,” Winter told TCB. “There was an existing appropriation of $1.5 million from the regular budget, and then this year there is a supplemental budget of an additional $4.5 million.”
The $6 million total will be available to the Minnesota Film and TV Board on July 1, pending Governor Dayton’s approval or veto, which could come as soon as this week.
“We’ve pretty much tapped out our money, which when I say that I mean it is committed,” Winter said of the board’s current budget. “Checks haven’t been cut to all of the production companies yet because they are in the process of making things, but [the money is] all going to committed projects.”
And with renewed legislative support, Winter said her office is “more than anything” aiming to bring a major TV series to the state full-time, most notably HBO’s Recruiters, Netflix’s Dear White People adaption or a second season of Lady Dynamite—if it’s renewed.