PARK CITY, UTAH – Hopefully this will change as zero-cost smartphone moviemaking pushes ahead, but Minnesota is having a darned tough time forging back into the world of indie film.
“MovieMaker” magazine, the Bible of the business for the lights-camera-action crowd, just gave Sundance Film Festival visitors its 2016 list of the best places to live and work as a movie maker. There are 26 options and none of them in Minnesota.
That's the theme repeated in the festival. There are plenty of films Minnesotans will want to see, but zero made back home. One animated short of note is “Bob Dylan Hates Me” (photo above), by Caveh Zahedi, a wild filmmaker who had a memorable role in Waking Life (he also has had his film work banned in the United Arab Emirates).
The Minnesota Film and TV Board is trying to fight against the tide, operating a publicity office on Park City's Main Street. The goal is to fuel a revival of the state's golden age of "Fargo" and "North Country." Or even "The Mighty Ducks."
The current slate of Minnesota-produced projects is promising but thin. Woody Harrelson, who briefly moved to Minneapolis in 1999 to direct his own play "Farthest From the Sun" at the Theatre de la Jeune Lune and appeared in the 2005 Iron Range drama "North Country" returned to the metro area last year to film a live adaptation of Daniel Cowles' graphic novel "Wilson." Filming took place in St. Paul, Woodbury and the Mall of America (read more about it here and here). That film, presently slated for April release by Fox Searchlight, stands alone among locally-made features in the release pipeline.
The Film Board's Sundance site will run a quick five day schedule through Wednesday, hosting a Minnesota Filmmakers' Reception and promoting the state's locales, artistic resources and modest programs of economic subsidies.
Watch this space for coverage of that campaign for cinematic culture.