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What will the Explore Minnesota Film Office mean for the state's economy?

Here’s what the new Explore Minnesota Film Office could mean for the state’s economy
Here’s what the new Explore Minnesota Film Office could mean for the state’s economy 02:14

ST. PAUL, Minn. — Minnesota's been a popular place to shoot movies and TV shows over the years, but the state may soon become even more of a destination for Hollywood.

The Explore Minnesota Film Office will be created this summer as a branch of the state's tourism office. It will be fully dedicated to attracting film and television productions.

"All these people [in the entertainment industry] are really excited, because it is transformational," said Casey Lewis, the president of the Twin Cities Local chapter of SAG-AFTRA.

Lewis says when a movie shoots in Minnesota, it's like an army coming and making camp.

It can mean millions of dollars for the local economy.

"That's going to wages for Minnesota workers," Melodie Bahan, the executive director of the nonprofit, MN Film and TV. "It's going to hotels and housing, equipment rentals. It's going to things that are in Minnesota — vendors and small businesses."

For many years, MN Film and TV has done the work the new Explore Minnesota office will do. Bahan says having the office associated with the state will make the process of attracting productions more seamless and less confusing.

The office will promote Minnesota to Hollywood producers and administer tax credits already in place for incentivizing production.

"[It'll] help filmmakers, producers, studios, and networks with locations, with crew," Bahan said. "Kind of easing the path, helping them navigate various municipalities and permitting and all of that stuff."

Lewis says Minnesota has tens of millions of dollars in tax credits to give out, and coming out of last year's writers and actors strikes, he expects Minnesota to be an appealing destination.

"There's so many projects in the pipeline that have been backed up, they're going to be looking for places to shoot," Lewis said. "They can't all shoot in Los Angeles."

Bahan says a feature film is already slated to shoot here this winter because it needs frozen lakes.

Some WCCO employees are members of SAG-AFTRA's News and Broadcast division. 

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