Tax incentives bringing more film productions to Minnesota

Published: Jun. 1, 2023 at 7:33 PM CDT
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ELY, MN. (Northern News Now) -- Northern Minnesota is a destination for people who love to play in the outdoors.

But now, it’s also becoming a destination for filmmakers.

A current production, the coming-of-age film with the working title ‘Boundary Waters,’ is shooting in Ely.

“It’s a perfect match, it’s a perfect match for the story,” said Birgit ‘Bitz’ Gernböck, the producer and production manager of the film.

The developing film industry is thanks in part to Minnesota’s expanding film tax credits and incentives.

In this session, the legislature expanded the current 25% tax credit cap of $5 million to $25 million and extended the program for the next eight years.

This means productions can get a 25% tax credit if they spend at least $1 million on eligible production costs in the state.

“This opens up so many more opportunities for film producers and the community and film industry within the state,” Gernböck said.

Those incentives are a draw for filmmakers like Erin Mae Miller, the producer of ‘Boundary Waters’.

“That is a huge incentive for filmmakers to put in the legwork to actually plan to shoot somewhere is to have security in funding with a tax credit or an incentive,” Mae Miller said.

Film productions bring a boost to the local communities as well.

“They’ve been using our resources, and that is definitely an important thing, not just for Ely, but for the whole Ely area and Northeastern Minnesota,” said Ely Mayor Heidi Omerza.

She said the production came to town at a perfect time, with Ely tourism in its off-season.

“It’s a great time for us to actually have people come to Ely, the economy is a little bit slower, so that was awesome,” Omerza said.

Bright lights, putting a spotlight, on a little city.

The film does not have a release date yet.

Producers hope to have it travel through the film festival cycle before being released in theaters or on a streaming service.

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