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New feature film to be shot in Iron Range, more productions in works

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Just in time for Thanksgiving, a couple of production companies have unveiled a huge gift for the Minnesota film community, KARE-TV reported.

Film commission Minnesota Film and TV announced Thursday that the comedy "Thanksgiving at Denny's" will be filmed in the Iron Range starting early next year. Production companies Washington Square and Griffin Productions are backing the project.

"As the son of an Iron Ranger, I'm particularly proud to produce 'Thanksgiving at Denny’s' in my hometown," Griffin Productions president Jerry Seppala said in a statement. "The film production will have a positive impact on the local economy and I’m excited for Hollywood A-listers to experience the most beautiful place on earth."

The production described "Thanksgiving at Denny's" as "a dramatic adult comedy about a bi-polar, 6'4" overweight computer programmer who gets laid off from his job in Chicago. He returns to his hometown to win the heart of a trailer park vixen with whom he has been obsessed since high school."

The film's cast has yet to be announced. Casting will take place in Minnesota, Los Angeles and New York.

Seppala said the partners at Griffin Productions have significant ties to Minnesota and they will "shoot multiple feature projects in Minnesota over the next decade."

The Iron Range is no stranger to feature film productions. The true-life drama "North Country," starring Charlize Theron, Woody Harrelson, Jeremy Renner and Frances McDormand, was shot in and around Chisolm, Eveleth and Virginia, among other places, in 2005.

The Business Journal reports Griffin Productions wants to produce up to a dozen films in Minnesota over the next five years. Seppala said the first film, "Thanksgiving at Denny's," could bring up to $24 million in economic benefits to the state economy based on estimates that show every dollar spent making a film generates six dollars in economic activity.

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