Dear Minnesota Film and TV Community,

Together we have accomplished so much in the last few years. We have a competitive tax credit program in place, heightened interest in Minnesota as a location from studios and producers, and now, with the passage of the Omnibus Jobs Bill in the legislature, we have a state film office!

This new office, which will be known as Explore Minnesota Film, will be part of the Explore Minnesota office of tourism, which is under the MN Department of Employment and Economic Development umbrella. As you may know, Minnesota is the only state in the country that has relied on a 501(c)3 nonprofit to serve as its state film office. We will now join the 45 other states that have a state office dedicated to the film and TV production industry. This change will allow Minnesota to be more effective in its efforts to attract production to the state, in its administration of the Film Production Tax Credit, and in working with local jurisdictions throughout the state to create film-friendly communities.

I want to thank everyone who has helped make both the tax credit and the state office a reality. We need to give special thanks to our local labor unions – SAG-AFTRA, IATSE, and the Teamsters – for their tireless advocacy and organizing efforts. We also thank everyone who has devoted their time and energy to the legislative committee of the MN Film Alliance. The lobbying team at Almeida Public Affairs has gone above and beyond in their efforts on behalf of the industry, and we are grateful. And of course, there are the elected officials, past and present, who understood the needs and potential benefits of this industry and became our champions. Rep. Dave Lislegard, Sen. Grant Hauschild, and Rep. Liz Lee deserve special mention for their efforts this session.

So what happens next? Explore Minnesota Film will be established as of July 1, 2024, but we expect that it will take several months for the new office to hire staff and get their infrastructure up and running. MN Film & TV will remain in operation during this transition, and we are committed to working with the state to make the transition as seamless as possible.

Once Explore Minnesota Film is operational, MN Film & TV will officially dissolve.

With a state film office providing all the services that are currently split between the state and the nonprofit, the Film Production Tax Credit, now with an annual cap of $25 million in credits per year, will become much easier for applicants to navigate. The MN Production Rebate incentive program (once known as Snowbate, but officially titled the “Film Production Jobs Act”) will not receive funding beyond the current fiscal year. The funding for this program has been erratic since its creation in 1997, and has been cut to just $500,000 per fiscal year since 2017. While there have been unscripted TV series, small feature films, commercials, and post-production projects that have continued to utilize this program at its current level, it is not fulfilling its statutory intent, which is to create jobs. There are only a couple of states that offer both a tax credit and a rebate or grant program, so the defunding of the rebate program does not come as a surprise. We understand that this creates a gap in support for low budget projects, and I hope we can have conversations with state agencies such as DEED, Explore Minnesota Film, and the State Arts Board about creative solutions to fill this gap.

For more than 40 years, Minnesota Film & TV has served our state and the local production industry. Once we have a better idea of the timeline for transition and dissolution, we will plan a goodbye party where we can all gather to reminisce, acknowledge the work that has been done over the decades, and celebrate this new chapter in film and TV production in Minnesota.

Stay tuned for details, and please feel free to reach out if you have any questions. Congratulations Minnesota – we did it!

Warm regards,

Melodie