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State officials highlight film, TV projects brought to Minnesota by production tax credit

WCCO Digital Headlines: Afternoon of July 29, 2022
WCCO Digital Headlines: Afternoon of July 29, 2022 01:07

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Minnesota's film production tax credit is bringing millions of dollars in film and TV projects to the state, Minnesota officials announced Friday.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development (DEED) says that the tax credit program, which was created in 2021, has attracted six projects that have been approved and are currently in various stages of production. Each are expected to bring more than $1 million to the state. 

"We're excited to see this tax credit help bring production efforts to Minnesota," said DEED Commissioner Steve Grove, in a statement. "These projects positively impact our economy, jobs, and spending at local businesses. And people from around the country can experience the amazing quality of life in Minnesota."  

The projects currently in production include two television series, three feature films, and one set of toy commercials. 

Among the feature films, two are being shot in the Twin Cities. One is "Downtown Owl," an adaptation of Chuck Klosterman's 2008 novel. WCCO captured film crews shooting at various places in St. Paul earlier this year. The film is currently in post-production and will be distributed by Sony Pictures. 

A producer on "Downtown Owl" told WCCO that they chose Minnesota as a filming location because of the film production tax credit, which is not available in North Dakota, where the film's story is set. 

The other feature film being shot in the Twin Cities is called "Marmalade," a romantic heist drama set on the outskirts of the metro and starring "Stranger Things" big-haired heartthrob Joe Keery. 

The third feature film, "Merry KissCam," is a Christmastime rom-com that recently wrapped production in Duluth and will be available on a "major streaming platform." 

The TV projects currently in production are "Renovation 911," a popular HGTV home renovation series that will feature Twin Cities homes in need of serious repair, and "Family Dinner with Andrew Zimmern," featuring the Minnesota chef, restauranteur and TV host who was most recently a judge on Netflix's "Iron Chef." 

As for the commercial package, a bundle of more than a dozen commercials is being shot in Minneapolis for toy-maker Mattel. 

Minnesota's film production tax credit provides an assignable 25% income tax credit to production companies that spend at least $1 million in a taxable year for eligible production costs, DEED officials say. 

DEED administers the program, and it is promoted by the nonprofit Minneapolis Film & TV, which works to lure production companies to Minnesota. 

"Having a tax credit incentive is a game-changer for Minnesota's production industry," Melodie Bahan, executive director of Minnesota Film & TV, said in a statement.  "With these first projects underway, we'll be able to show the industry that Minnesota is great place to produce film, TV, and streaming content."

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