Future of MN movie rebate program under threat through House proposal

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A proposal to scrap a rebate program giving incentives to filmmakers who shoot movies in Minnesota is being considered.

MPR reported earlier this week that a proposal was put before a House committee that would see the state's "Snowbate" program defunded and the Minnesota Film and Television Board disbanded, saving the state $1.8 million.

But the proposal has angered industry members, the news organization reports, who say the program has led to 155 projects in Minnesota in the last three years alone, generating $54 million in production and supporting 3,000 jobs.

According to the Associated Press, the proposal would cut funding for the program – which offers a 25 percent rebate for film, TV and internet projects costing more than $1 million – in 2017 and propose it go unfunded in the next two-year budget cycle.

Opponents to the proposal say it would turn filmmakers off shooting in Minnesota, whereas supporters argue there are more effective ways to stimulate job creation, AP notes.

The Business Journal reports the Snowbate program was crucial in bringing Woody Harrelson film "Wilson" to the state last summer, which it says was the "first major studio shoot" in the Twin Cities since "A Serious Man," the 2009 Coen Brothers film.

MPR notes that a different proposal is being put before the Minnesota Senate that would increase funding to the incentive program.

The future of the program was also debated last year, KARE 11 reports, with celebrity chef Andrew Zimmern among those speaking in support of it.

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