New bill would create state office to promote Minnesota as movie location

Movies like "Grumpy Old Men," "Mallrats" and "Fargo" were filmed in Minnesota in the 90s.

Now there is an effort at the Minnesota State Capitol to bring more La La Land to the land of 10,000 lakes.

"This is the culmination of decades of work," said Rep. Liz Lee of St Paul.

Lee introduced a bill in the House that would create a new state office to promote Minnesota as a movie location. The office would be part of Explore Minnesota, which already touts the state as a tourist destination.

"When we talk about making Minnesota's economy strong and competitive, this is exactly one of those things that we have to pass, so that we're not at a competitive disadvantage with our neighbors and our friends," said Lee.

The Minnesota Film and TV Board says we're the only state in the country that currently relies on a nonprofit to do the work that official state film commissions do in other places.

"This is a move that, frankly, should have happened years ago. The current situation we have is incredibly inefficient. It's confusing, and this is just going to streamline everything," said Melodie Bahan, Executive Director of MN Film and TV.

The new Explore Minnesota Film Office would also administer the $25 million in tax incentives state lawmakers established to bring film and TV productions back to Minnesota a couple of years ago and expanded during the last legislative session.

"It's timely. It's a great way to protect the state and the state's investment in this industry, and we're looking forward to bringing more and more projects here," said Bahan.

Lee says the bill has had a hearing in the House and its sponsors hope it will be included in an omnibus economic development bill later this session.