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Local film production company benefits from new incentive program

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DULUTH, MN -- A new push to get the film industry to make movies in the Northland is underway.

After years of work, St. Louis County's new film incentive program is live, with companies and groups able to fill out applications.

LZ Productions Minnesota is bringing a feature film to Duluth's Caddy Shack Indoor Golf and Pub.

"It's a small-town story about a gentleman who is down on his luck and he inherits a curse along with a bar. The curse he inherits with the bar is a little more than he can handle," said Blair Smith, Director and Executive Producer of 'The Hand That Feeds'.

The horror film is called 'The Hand That Feeds', and the cast will be made up of all Minnesota residents.

"A lot of us know that there is a ton of talent in Minnesota and now with the new St. Louis County incentives and some of the new rebates coming back, I think we will see a lot more films coming to the Duluth area," said Smith.

The program, in which the county board invested $1 million, offers productions a rebate on up to 25% of what they spend in St. Louis County.

"The incentive program not only brings jobs and boosts the economy, it also brings some much-needed money back to the arts which have really struggled with COVID-19," said Smith.

The Upper Midwest Film Office say they have received 44 applications for the incentive, which is great news for local businesses.

"What happens with something like this is it brings so much money into the community. It brings it to the mom and pop stores right in downtown whatever city they are shooting in," said Riki McManus, Chief Production Officer, Upper Midwest Film Office.

That money could help businesses like the Caddy Shack in Lincoln Park recover from COVID-19 impacts.

"Once we start really pushing and promoting this industry there's no cap on how much economic stimulus will come from that, once we start showing people that we are open for business and they can come and make a high-quality feature film," said Katherine LaFleur, Production Assistant at LZ Productions.

The Upper Midwest Film Office said the 44 applications they have received are from all over the country, including some from St. Louis County and others from New York and Los Angeles.

Filming for 'The Hand that Feeds' will begin May 1st, and if you are interested in being a part of the cast, click here for more information.

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Ryan Compeau

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