mnfilm_logo.gifQuick word association: What are the first two words that come to mind when you hear “Minnesota?” If you thought “cold” and “snow,” you’re not alone. Of course, it doesn’t help that some of the best-known Minnesota-shot movies back up those associations. Fargo takes place almost entirely in cold and snow; winter weather figures prominently into the plots of Jingle All the Way, Grumpy Old Men and A Simple Plan; and who can forget Apollonia’s dip into the freezing waters of one of Minnesota’s many lakes (that wasn’t Lake Minnetonka) in Purple Rain.

While those films make use of the frigid Minnesota climate to great effect, the Minnesota Film and TV Board knows the state is more than just freezing temperatures. The state has a lot to offer any moviemaker, says production services manager Christopher Grap. “You can be shooting an industrial site or urban setting in the morning and isolated farm country or river banks in the afternoon,” Grap says. “Something producers have commented on is the close proximity of diverse locations. You don’t have to travel far in Minnesota to get a great range of backdrops.”

Through the board’s new website,, and the Minnesota state production incentive, Snowbate, which returns up to 15 percent of production costs to producers on eligible projects, Minnesota certainly has more to offer than snow angels.

Other notable productions from the Land of 1,000 Lakes:
Graffiti Bridge
Beautiful Girls
The Mighty Ducks
Grumpier Old Men
Pushing Tin
A Prairie Home Companion
North Country

Sound Off: Like many other states, Minnesota offers a tax incentive program to entice productions into the state. Besides tax breaks, what are some other important economic sweeteners that would entice you, the moviemaker, to a specific location?

—Dante A. Ciampaglia