comScore

Massive "Snowbate" cuts proposed, potentially ending Hollywood glamour in Minnesota

The 'Dear White People' crew didn't anticipate filming in Minnesota, but was attracted to our Snowbate program.

The 'Dear White People' crew didn't anticipate filming in Minnesota, but was attracted to our Snowbate program.

When the Minneapolis-St. Paul International Film Festival kicks off this Thursday, we know what filmmakers will be talking about over cocktail hour.

Minnesota Film and TV Board's "Snowbate" is an incentive program that intends to bring film production to the state. Flicks like Young Adult, Dear White People, and the upcoming Woody Harrelson vehicle, Wilson, all filmed in Minnesota due to the rebates they would qualify for if they spent a certain amount of money here.

The likelihood of of future productions coming to our city in the coming year might be grim, as the State Legislature is proposing cuts to the program of 85- to 90-percent.

"This kind of reduction really would dramatically impact our ability to attract the level of production budgets that we've been able to attract," Lucinda Winter of the Minnesota Film and TV Board tells KSTP.

This isnt the first time that Snowbate has been on the chopping block; in 2015 a jobs bill narrowly kept the program alive.

Part of the ongoing conundrum of whether to fund the tax break or not may stem from unclear expectations of what exactly Snowbate is supposed to be doing for our state economy.

"We found that the Legislature has not established clear outcomes it expects the board to achieve," reads a 2015 audit summary, "... the level and consistency of state funding are likely contributing factors  [to the current limited job creation potential]."

In the meantime, Minnesota is still attracting potential projects. Despite some recent controversy, Mogadishu, Minnesota, a new HBO drama about Somali immigrants, is still contemplating shooting in the Twin Cities.

Winter also points out that business relationships take time, and that the Snowbate program has gained some important momentum over the years.

"We're just getting ramped up for repeat business, and we'd honestly hate to see that come to a halt," she says.