Tessa Thompson stars in "Dear White People," an indie feature film currently shooting in Minneapolis.
If you've been wondering what all those trucks taking up space outside the Woman's Club of Minneapolis lately are for, there's a movie shoot going on, as we reported last Friday. "Dear White People" is a satirical look at race relations on an Ivy League campus, featuring some known talents including Tessa Thompson ("Copper," "Veronica Mars," "For Colored Girls") and Tyler James Williams, best known for playing a young Chris Rock on the sitcom "Everybody Hates Chris."
The project has the distinction of being the first to benefit from the latest version of the State of Minnesota's Snowbate incentive program, which encourages film business by offering reimbursements of 20 to 25 percent of money spent on production in the state. "Dear White People" is laying out an approximate $1 million in local production costs, said Lucinda Winter, who heads the Minnesota Film and TV Board.
"The day I signed the contract agreement with the state, we signed this deal too," Winter said.
Here's part of director Justin Simien's fundraising pitch for his movie:
"Remember when Black movies didn't necessarily star a dude in a fat suit and a wig? Or have major plot twists timed to Gospel numbers for no apparent reason? ....The humble producers of DEAR WHITE PEOPLE, a satire about being a black face in a white place, long to bring those days back."
We'll post on a visit with the director and cast -- some of whom checked out the Minnesota State Fair on a day off -- next week. Meantime, here's a sneak peek: