Lawmakers seek to create state film office to promote Minnesota

Lawmakers seek to create state film office to promote Minnesota

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(KSTP) – The heyday of Hollywood coming to Minnesota to shoot films was in the 1980s and 1990s when movies like “Mighty Ducks,” “Fargo” and “Grumpy Old Men” were produced with many major stars. When tax incentives eventually dried up so did movie production.

That might change now that the Minnesota Legislature approved $25 million per year in tax incentives during the 2023 session to encourage filmmakers to come back to the state. There’s also a new bill to create a new film office within the “Explore Minnesota” tourism agency.

“Explore Minnesota film would coordinate all industries vital to television and film production in Minnesota,” says Rep. Liz Lee (DFL-St. Paul), the House author of the bill. “This new office would be tasked with oversight of the film production jobs program and the film production credit program along with promoting Minnesota as a place for film and television production.”

Until now, those efforts have been overseen by the nonprofit “Minnesota Film and TV Board,” a unique setup compared to other states.

“There is only one state…Minnesota…that relies on a 501c3 non-profit to perform the duties of a state film office,” says Melodie Bahan of the Minnesota Film and TV Board. 

Bahan says 43 other states have film offices in their state governments. She says it’s a good idea with so much tax money at stake.

“The lack of a state office to provide oversight of this investment seems unwise,” she adds. “It is, at the very least, inefficient.”

No vote was taken on the bill on Wednesday, but it will be considered for inclusion in a broader economic development bill.