It's been a while since a major motion picture was shot in Minnesota, but a few local lawmakers are hoping to do something about that and they brought in a few Hollywood producers to make their pitch.
Industry insiders say the reason Minnesota hasn't been involved in the movie-making business in recent years is simple: Too many other states offer tax incentives and strategies that attract film production away from the land of 10,000 lakes.
The movie "Jingle All the Way," starring Arnold Schwarzenegger, was one of the few big-name titles filmed in Minnesota, but that was years ago. Now, Reps. Phyllis Kahn, a Democrat, and Dean Urdahl, a Republican, are teaming up with the newly-formed Association of Minnesota Motion Pictures to announce an innovative idea.
The group seeks to use legacy amendment funds to invest in films, and part of the plan would bring a portion of the movie's production within state borders so that some of the money would be spent on production jobs, hotels, craft services and equipment storage.
"The other side of it is that after that investment in these pictures, we will own a part of that picture," explained producer Robert Schwartz. "So if it were a 'Fargo,' or 'Grumpy Old Men,' or 'Iron Will,' there would be income that comes in from owning part of that picture to come back into the legacy fund."
Even though there is no formal bill at this point, the group floated the idea before a joint House and Senate meeting of the Legacy Fund Committee on Wednesday afternoon.
Both Urdahl and Kahn told FOX 9 News they can see a scenario where the state would set aside a pool of money -- possibly $10 million -- to invest in films, stimulate local jobs and create a new artistic heritage.
No other state has implemented a strategy like this, but Canada has a budget of $375 million that it uses to invest in films -- and that has a lot of location credits listing Canadian sites these days.