Film festival organizers hope to boost Duluth economy

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DULUTH, MN — For the first time ever, Duluth will be rolling out the red carpet for an independent film festival.

“To have a long-term base so we can go out to our global universe of artists and tell them we really found a place that values you and the work that you do,” says Executive Director Phillip Gilpin Jr.

Philip Gilpin is the mastermind behind the festival which has been held around the country for about a decade, adding that Catalyst focuses on educational and professional development for narrative artists.

The festival wouldn’t have been possible here in the North-land without help from the St. Louis County Board and the IRRRB who helped get it off the ground with $200,000  in grants.

Officials from both bodies say the grants were given out because the festival, while held in Duluth, will benefit the entire county.

“But really our organization is a gateway to bringing the television industry here year-round, full-time so that we can stimulate the economy and have more jobs going,” Gilpin says.

The grant money will be used for a production guide to help film crews eyeing the Duluth area as a filming location.

They will recruit local carpenters, plumbers, electricians, vendors, hotels, crews, cast members and anyone else that would be involved in the production of a TV or film.

That being part of the bigger goal of putting Duluth on the big screen.

And the reason behind choosing Duluth you might ask?

Gilpin says, “It was one of the only towns in America we found that has the amazing arts infrastructure that it does it’s just an arts town at heart.”

But what festival goers might not expect for an event like this roadwork, as many festival events will be right in the middle of the Superior Street Reconstruction Project.

Duncan Schwenson Senior Engineer for the project says, “We’ve maintained pedestrian access to all the businesses and buildings along the street that for sure will happen again during the festival.”

Despite the fall construction, Gilpin says the show must go on.

Catalyst will be announcing its Duluth Host committee and a celebrity attending the festival in the weeks to come.

The film festival will be held in Duluth between October 6th and 13th.

Click here to learn more about the film festival.

Emma Quinn

Emma Quinn

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