There's something thrilling about watching a movie or TV show, and recognizing a location filmed in your home state. Minnesotans have gotten some high-profile chances to do that lately with movies like Kumiko, The Treasure Hunter, Dear White People and Wilson all shooting in the state.
So how does that happen? One of the people who helps guide these projects up north is Lucinda Winter, the executive director of Minnesota Film and Television. She came by GoMN Wednesday morning to talk about everything that's been going on, and how the state can keep growing its presence in the film industry.
Stream the entire conversation below, or download the.mp3 directly here.
We discuss Wilson and how the movie ended up filming here (3:18), the impact Dear White People had on studio interest in Minnesota (12:49), what's going on with the HBO pilot Mogadishu, Minnesota (15:49), and then talk Snowbate – what is it, and why it's an important tool to get projects here (23:42).
Here's a condensed excerpt:
So how did they [Wilson] end up filming here? Did they approach you guys, were there other states in the mix so that you guys kind of had to try to woo them here?
It's an interesting story, because it's a little bit unusual in how it unfolded. Craig Johnson, the director ... had come to Minneapolis for a screening of a movie he made called Skeleton Twins. And it screened at the Minneapolis St. Paul International Film Festival.
I happened to be there that night at the screening, and a bunch of us introduced ourselves to him, and had a conversation with him. He only stayed for a few days, but you know, Minneapolis, it stuck in his mind as a pretty amazing place.
Wilson was set in Oakland, California. But he said to [the studio, Fox Searchlight], 'You know, we're looking for an urban area that's sort of taking a turn and is up-and-coming, a contemporary, growing, city. I was in Minneapolis-St. Paul, that kind of fits it to a T and would be a completely different look for this movie.'
So he and some other folks contacted us, we had lots of conversations with them about what we've got here in terms of crew and locations and the ease of getting out of Minneapolis and St. Paul – very important in terms of our airport and daily flights etc.
Most importantly though we were able to say yes when they asked us if we had a production incentive. ... That locked us in with them, and it was a very short cycle. Sometimes we work for a year or two to get something in here. This was only a few months.
Was there anyone else you know you guys were competing with in terms of where they might film, or were you guys fairly confident early on?
I believe they may have looked at Ohio too. But once they decided we're not doing Oakland, we're not gonna do that ... they really were pretty strong about coming here right away.