Minnesotans already seeing benefits from movies, TV shows filming in state


MINNEAPOLIS — Minnesota is on its way to becoming a mini-Hollywood.

Since the legislature passed a tax credit program last year, six projects — including two TV shows, three movies, and one commercial — got the green light to film here. This is bringing more than $10 million to Minnesota’s economy.

The first project utilizing the tax credit program was the movie “Downtown Owl,” an adaptation of Chuck Klosterman’s 2008 novel. It was shot in downtown St. Paul in April.

“I’m very excited about [Downtown Owl]. I can’t wait to see that. The cast is incredible, the story is great,” said Melodie Bahan, executive director of Minnesota Film and TV.

MORE: ‘Jingle All The Way’ turns 25: A look back at the last big Minnesota-made movie

Bahan says that with more productions, they’re already seeing how it’s bringing more jobs for the people who live here. Bahan says the tax credit program benefits the production crew hire local crews to work with.

“The wages are included in the incentive are only for Minnesota residents,” Bahan said.

Sammy Halabi is a Minnesotan already growing his business because of everything being filmed in our state. He and his partner April Hinrichs own Wheels Up Rentals, offering custom makeup, hair and wardrobe trailers for production teams while they’re filming here.

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“It saves production a lot of money because they don’t have to worry about finding the inventory from another market and bringing that inventory here, which there’s a lot of cost involved,” said Halabi.

Bahan says her goal is to expand the program past its four-year expiration date of 2025, in hopes of Minnesota landing a successful series, like “Yellowstone” or “Ozark,” that film over several years and brings about $8-$9 million to the state per episode.

“A series will provide you with almost year-round employment, you know, an influx of cash to the state that is ongoing,” Bahan said.

Bahan says the Minnesota Film and TV group will be meeting with Hollywood executives to sell our state to them. She says some of the draws include our diverse climate, the lakes, and easy access between metro and rural areas.

The Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development, which oversees the tax credit program, provided WCCO this list of approved projects:

HGTV’s Renovation 911 – TV Series

$1,208,493 in proposed Minnesota expenditures

Currently in production in the Twin Cities metro

Distribution: To air on HGTV

Downtown Owl – Feature Movie

$1,372,599 in proposed Minnesota expenditures

Principal photography in the Twin Cities metro wrapped; Currently in post production

Distribution: Sony Pictures

Merry KissCam – Feature Movie

$2,115,919 in proposed Minnesota expenditures

Recently wrapped production in Duluth

Distribution: Major streaming service

Marmalade – Feature Movie

$1,999,797 in proposed Minnesota expenditures

Recently wrapped production in the Twin Cities metro and Stillwater

Distribution: TBD

Mattel Package – TV Commercials (multiple)

$1,781,700 in proposed Minnesota expenditures

Currently in production in Minneapolis

Description: MAKE has been awarded a bundle of 14+ commercials for Mattel, to be executed in two halves of 2022. These include concept, production and post-production.

Family Dinner with Andrew Zimmern – TV Series

$1,774,860 in proposed Minnesota expenditures

Currently in production

Distribution: Magnolia and Discovery+ Networks

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