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'Dear White People,' shot in Minnesota, to become Netflix series

"Dear White People" creator Justin Simien directs star Tessa Thompson during 2013 shoot/ photo by Ashley Nguyen for Roadside Attractions

"Dear White People," the critically acclaimed indie shot entirely on the University of Minnesota campus, is being made into a TV series.

Netflix announced Thursday that has signed off on a 10-episode series that will go into production later this year with a premiere date in 2017.

Lucinda Winter, executive director for the Minnesota Film and TV Board, said it;s too early to say whether the streaming service and its production partner Lionsgate will shoot the comedy in the Twin Cities, but she was quick to reach out Thursday morning to creator Justin Simien, who will also write the series and direct the first episode.

"I just congratulated him by e-mail," Winter said. "It wasn't the right time to say, 'I hope you'll be shooting here.'"

The ultimate decision on where to film the show will be up to Netflix and its production partner, Lionsgate, but Winter said she's got strong cheerleaders in Simien and original film producer Effie Brown, who has since gone on to work for the company run by "Empire" creator Lee Daniels.

"They ran around Los Angeles saying how great their experience was shooting in Minneapolis and that really matters out there," she said.

The University of Minnesota was always an odd shooting location for "White People," which told the tale of four minority students adapting to life at an Ivy League college. But Simien was atttracted to the state  -- and not only for the Snowbate financial incentives, which reimburses some production expenses.

"The campus was perfect, with all the things we were looking for," Simien told the Star Tribune in 2014. "I had a lot of buddies with connections to the Guthrie and the Children's Theatre Company who had recommendations for local talent I was casting. So many people walked into the room were spot-on perfect."

Several cast members had Minnesota connections, including male lead Brandon P. Bell, who got his start at the Penumbra Theatre and attended three different Minneapolis high schools.

It was unclear whether Bell and other actors from the film would appear in the TV show.

Only a handful of series have ever shot in the Twin Cities,but the newish rebate service -- and growing respect for local talent both in front of and behind the camera - may start to change that.

Netflix's "Lady Dynamite," starring Duluth native Maria Bamford, spent more than a week shooting in Woodbury, which doubles as the comic's hometown. That autobiographical sitcom drops later this month. Winter is also hopeful that Kathryn Bigelow's series, "Recruiters," which is set in the Twin Cities, will actually shoot here. HBO hasn't officially given the series the green light, but a pilot is expected to be shot later this year. Winter said the shooting location is between Toronto and Minneapolis.

"That would be a game changer," she said.

Video: Sir Paul McCartney goes crazy with a royal Prince tribute at Target Center

Paul McCartney kicked off a two-night stand Wednesday at Target Center. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

Paul McCartney kicked off a two-night stand Wednesday at Target Center. / Jeff Wheeler, Star Tribune

He only played a small part of the song, but it felt like a big moment. Paul McCartney added about a minute of Prince “Let’s Go Crazy” to his encore on Wednesday night at Target Center, the second time he paid tribute to Minneapolis’s newly deceased rock legend in the nearly three-hour concert.

McCartney had already paid his respects to Prince on Twitter on the day of his death, April 21. Sir Paul once again brought up the royal rocker near the start of Wednesday’s show, after he and his workhorse band played a snippet of “Foxy Lady” in memory of Jimi Hendrix (as they’ve been doing every night on tour). He told the 17,000 audience members, “Tonight is a tribute to Prince.”

“I’ve been a fan for a really long time, [and] seen his shows in London,” he said, and then revealed that he saw the little big guy perform on St. Barts just this past New Year’s Eve. “It was a beautiful night. God bless you, Prince.” And with that, he launched into an especially soulful version of the Beatles’ “I’ve Got a Feeling” -- with the line, “Everybody had a hard year,” ringing out powerfully.

That would have been a meaningful enough tribute for Prince’s hometown crowd, but it wasn’t enough for McCartney. At the end of an already riling version of Wings’ “Hi Hi Hi” two songs into the encore, he and his band segued into the hard-rocking outro section of “Let’s Go Crazy.” Prince’s unmistakable androgyny symbol appeared on the video screens as they kicked into gear.

“He’s your guy!” he yelled to the crowd as the jam ended. “Thank you, Prince, for writing so many beautiful songs, so much music.”

Here’s a video of the Prince jam below. Read Jon Bream’s full review of the concert here. Tickets are still available for Thursday night's concert via AXS.com or the arena box office.

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