Statewide film incentive may bring more movies to Minnesota

As Hollywood comes back to life post-pandemic, an increasing number of filmmakers are eyeing Minnesota for their next big production.

This comes after the House and Senate passed a $5 million dollar a year tax credit for film and TV production in the state.

“I think a lot of people will come to see what we have here and I think a lot of them will want to stay,” Riki McManus, a leader in the Northland film scene said.

The incentive program works by offering filmmakers a transferable tax credit of up to 25% on in-state purchases for production, so crews could make some of the money they spend in Minnesota back.

McManus, who serves as the Chief Production Officer for Upper Midwest Film Festival and as a board member for Catalyst Film Festival, hopes it brings new and needed content to movie platforms everywhere.

“As we have experienced over the last 15 months, we have kind of used up all of Netflix. We’ve watched so much of the content that’s out there that everybody is scurrying to get new content quickly, so this is a great time for our industry,” McManus said.

One Northlander who will benefit from the new incentive program is Keely Gelineau, a Duluth native who has been traveling across the country to pursue her passion for acting and producing since she was young.

Today, Gelineau owns Polished Perception Production and Talent and is working on two feature films that will be shot back to back from August to November.

“Being able to work where I live and come home to my family each day…that’s pretty amazing,” Gelineau said.

Gelineau added that she looks forward to the opportunity to hire locally, as well as, invite investors from all over the world to work with locals.

“To have these incentives and to go to our investors and say ‘Hey, you can have an immediate 25 to 50% return on your investment—that’s pretty amazing. It keeps them coming, it keeps us working, it keeps infusing those millions of dollars directly into our community and to me, that’s an absolute dream come true,” Gelineau said.

St. Louis County passed a similar film incentive back in February that is already in effect. Minnesota’s is expected to go into effect around January.

McManus hopes there may be opportunities to layer these incentives for those who film in the Northland, as the economy continues to recover from the pandemic and more and more people get back to work.

“If you have a passion for art, there’s a place for you. If you enjoy planting nurseries and decorating exteriors, that would be a good place for the greenery department, catering, makeup, hair, lighting, grips, gafs, there’s so many,” McManus said.

More information about opportunities in the film industry can be found here.