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Film incentives now available in Superior

The Upper Midwest Film Office will administer 25% rebates for lodging and catering in Superior for film production crews.

The crew of the film “Merry Kiss Cam” get the camera ready to shoot a scene
The crew of the film “Merry Kiss Cam” get the camera ready to shoot a scene near the lobby at the Radisson Hotel in Duluth on Monday, June 13, 2022. The production generated more than 900 nights in hotel and Airbnb rooms, and having an incentive in Superior could attract large project to the region, according to Riki McManus, chief production officer of the Upper Midwest Film Office.
Jed Carlson / 2022 File / Superior Telegram
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SUPERIOR — Film production crews now have a reason to sleep and cater in Superior.

Incentives created by the city’s Tourism Development Commission are now available to provide a 25% rebate on qualified lodging, food and catering expenses in Superior. The commission earmarked $20,000 for the program.

According to the Upper Midwest Film Office, which is managing the program, film productions help fuel the economy. The recent movie, Merry Kiss Cam, which was filmed in Duluth, generated more than 900 nights in hotel and Airbnb rooms in Duluth.

“Having Superior be an option for hotels and catering is a game changer,” said Riki McManus, chief production officer of the Upper Midwest Film Office. “There are many time when we have a shortage of hotels and caterers available for projects. That can be a reason for projects to go elsewhere. This helps to alleviate some of that hurdle in attracting large projects to the region.”

She said having a film crew sleep in Superior could be good for other local businesses because they would be more likely to dine, shop and experience what Superior has to offer.

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Incentives are a risk-free way to attract production because there is no up-front investment from the commission. After a production wraps, all receipts for catering, craft services and lodging spent in Superior are audited, and a 25% rebate is issued on qualified expenses.

“This will put heads in Superior beds, which is what this commission was created to do,” said former Tourism Commissioner JoAnn Jardine, who proposed creating the film production incentive.

Jardine said she would like to see Douglas County and the state of Wisconsin offer a similar incentive program for film production. The city of Duluth, St. Louis County and the state of Minnesota all offer production incentive programs.

Wisconsin had a film incentive program similar to Superior’s, but funding for the program was cut from $1.5 million to $500,000 annually in 2009, and the program was eliminated in 2013.

Shelley Nelson is a reporter with the Duluth Media Group since 1997, and has covered Superior and Douglas County communities and government for the Duluth News Tribune from 1999 to 2006, and the Superior Telegram since 2006. Contact her at 715-395-5022 or snelson@superiortelegram.com.
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As reported by Douglas County.
As reported by Douglas County.
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