DULUTH – On the heels of new state and county film and TV incentives, Duluth officials are now looking into "financial and nonfinancial" efforts to lure productions to town.
"There's a lot of potential in our area, a lot of excitement, and there's a lot of talk in the industry right now about Minnesota," said Council Member Arik Forsman.
The measure the City Council unanimously approved Tuesday night gives city administrators until November to present recommendations "to attract more television, film, and content creation in Duluth." No dollar figure was identified.
"Our city has a lot of community members who are very talented," Council Member Janet Kennedy said. "There are several communities who are looking forward to this opportunity."
The state Legislature recently passed a new $5 million yearly tax credit to help film and TV projects bring their shoots — and their spending — to Minnesota. While not quite the $25 million yearly incentive advocates had hoped for, the credit helps the state better compete against other regions that offer attractive production incentives. The program runs through 2025.
"As we think about economic expansion and development, media production is complementary to the industries we already have here — hospitality, service, real estate, transportation, tourism, the building trades and the arts industry," Shari Marshik, executive director of the Duluth-based Upper Midwest Film Office, told the Council on Tuesday night.
The group expects about $4 million will be spent in the area by productions this year.
Last year the St. Louis County Board passed an incentive worth up to $1 million that would reimburse eligible costs for film and TV production, the first county-based program of its kind in the state.
"There are thousands of creatives around the world who come to Duluth and tell us they'd love to bring their money here, bring their jobs here, bring their projects here, stay here, live here, shoot here," said Philip Gilpin Jr., executive director of Duluth's Catalyst Story Institute.
The Catalyst Festival returns to in-person programming in Duluth from Sept. 29 to Oct. 3.
Brooks Johnson • 218-491-6496