TV, Movie Filming in MN Picking Up Momentum
It’s been a year since Minnesota film and television leaders say the state returned to the industry’s radar and a recharged rebate program continues to funnel talent—and dollars—here.
According to Minnesota Film and TV, 17 projects spent more than $2.2 million in the state since August 2013 with at least 31 projects and more than $13 million confirmed to come.
The state’s Snowbate incentive program, revitalized last year with a record $10 million allocation by the Legislature, made Minnesota one of the 15 most affordable states for film and television production. Films, television series or commercials with at least 60 percent of their production occurring in Minnesota can receive a reimbursement of up to 25 percent of those dollars spent. That, plus an additional 20 percent rebate possible in the Iron Range territory, created a rebate package suddenly on par with any in the country.
Lucinda Winter, executive director of Minnesota Film and TV, said production in Minnesota picked up momentum in the past year, with a host of 2015 projects being seriously discussed.
“Everyone in my office is feeling that the hard work that has been happening over the last year is really starting to pay off,” Winter said. “We’re feeling really good. Our interest is in the continuation of the funding. [Production companies] like to know a state is consistently committed to funding a program.”
The Legislature allocated $5 million in October 2013 and another $5 million for July 1 after 10 years of little to no state funding. Winter said 48 projects, including the 17 already reimbursed, have been certified to receive Snowbates. According to Minnesota Film and TV, more than $15.6 million in proposed production dollars are so far expected to be spent in Minnesota upon completion of those 48 projects.
That money provides a boost to the state’s economy in terms of spending, earnings and employment, according to a 2013 study of data provided by the Bureau of Economic Analysis. The $15.6 million would represent a $25.9 million increase in economic output, a $6.4 million increase in earnings for firms involved in production and nearly 300 jobs created beyond those needed during production.
Among the biggest spenders was the feature film “Dear White People,” which budgeted more than $825,000 to spend in the state, and a series for ABC called “In an Instant,” whose proposed budget in Minnesota is more than $3.6 million.
Winter said she has had serious talks regarding nearly 20 projects set to start in 2015, including a possible HBO pilot called “Stillwater,” named for the town in which it would be set and filmed. The tentative project, projected to being production in the spring, has an estimated $1 million budget for its project. “Super Troopers 2” ($10 million, Iron Range) and a film called “Patricius” ($30 million, Iron Range) is also being discussed.