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Hartnett to lead push at Capitol for Minnesota movie partnership

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St. Paul actor Josh Hartnett and a group of filmmakers are due at an informational hearing at the Minnesota State Capitol Wednesday afternoon in a new effort to bring more movie productions to the state, the Pioneer Press reports.

The hearing will reportedly focus on whether public money from the Arts and Cultural Heritage Fund allocated by the states Legacy Amendment could be invested in movies shot in the state -- effectively making Minnesota a partner in profit-sharing in the productions.

Hartnett will appear at the Capitol hearing with producer Ralph Winter ("Fantastic Four," three "X-Men" movies) and Jane Minton, the former director the Independent Feature Project North.

Together with former Minnesotan Robert Schwartz, who produced the Minnesota-made "Iron Will," the partners' group is called the Association of Minnesota Motion Pictures (AMMP), the Star Tribune reports.

Members of the AMMP would use their connections to act as fiscal agents for major studios seeking money to be invested in the productions. AMMP partner Denise Gardner told the Star Tribune that the group plans to negotiate not one-offs, but "long-term partnerships" with studios.

As an example, Gardner said a three-movie deal with a studio like Sony Pictures or Warner Bros. would require that most of the filming be done in Minnesota, which would mean millions of dollars would be spent in the state.

The approach is different from the previous films shot here -- including the Joel and Ethan Coen-directed drama "A Serious Man" -- where productions received tax breaks that refunded a percentage of the money they spent in the state, the Pioneer Press says.

The group will appear in a hearing at 3 p.m. before a joint session of the House and Senate Legacy committee.

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