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Bringing Hollywood to Minnesota

Published (3/7/2008)
By Courtney Blanchard
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The Minnesota Film and TV Board hopes to lure Oscar-winning directors the Coen brothers back to their home state to film a movie this year.

The board’s executive director, Lucinda Winter, said “A Serious Man” takes place in the Twin Cities metropolitan area. However, Wisconsin offers more competitive production incentives, and the board needs a boost to make sure the state’s neighbors to the east don’t get to host the movie.

If the bill is passed, “there’s no question about it, they’re here,” Winter said.

HF3345, sponsored by House Majority Leader Tony Sertich (DFL-Chisholm), would allow the board to reimburse up to 20 percent of the movie’s production costs in excess of $5 million. It was approved by the House Minnesota Heritage Finance Division on March 3, and referred to the House Finance Committee. A Senate companion, SF3221, sponsored by Sen. David Tomassoni (DFL-Chisholm), awaits action by the Senate Finance Committee.

In 2006, the board did not use all of a one-time $1.7 million state grant and the money went back to the Explore Minnesota Tourism program. The bill would allow Explore Minnesota Tourism to appropriate the money back to the board. There would be no impact on the state budget.

The movie is an original screenplay by St. Louis Park natives Joel and Ethan Coen, and the duo will also direct and produce the film. If filming occurs in the state, Winter said the movie would create about 100 jobs for Minnesotans. The production office would open in June, with filming scheduled to start in late-August or early-September.

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