Prominent indy TV festival coming to Duluth

PHOTO: Vancouver Film School, Flickr CC

Next October Duluth will host the Independent TV Festival. This gathering of independent television producers, directors and writers routinely connects major TV and streaming distributors with new projects.

On Monday, the ITV Festival announced it would move from Vermont to Northern Minnesota. It’s a major coup for the arts scene in our region.

The Oct 9-13, 2019 festival will feature several events and screenings most likely held at venues like the NorShore Theater and Zeitgeist Arts Center in downtown Duluth. Festival activities will be ticketed, but open to the public.

The Minnesota State Arts Board is expected to help the festival with development funding. A legislative request is in the offing. The Duluth News Tribune reports that the ITV Festival seeks $200,000 in up-front funding and $250,000 per year for five years to make the festival happen.

The festival draws up to 1,500 people per year, mostly creatives and producers. The direct impact on the local economy is one thing, but the real value would be the potential of fueling a regional film production economy.

On the heels of this announcement, the Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation announced $250,000 in funding for the relaunch of the IRRRB’s film rebate program.

Northern Minnesota might not be first on the list of film locations in North America, but it holds potential. Four distinct seasons. Numerous natural locations and available interiors. A growing arts scene producing locally grown talent.

For a look at what’s possible with these film incentives and local production, consider this year’s “Cold November.” My friend Karl Jacob shot this film entirely on Iron Range locations. The IRRRB played a role in making it happen. The result impacted the economy, but also produced a powerful cultural message about life in our region.

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