MINNEAPOLIS - The mid-1990s were a gold mine in production for movies in Minnesota.
Fargo, the Grumpy Old Men films, the list goes on and on.
In 1995, nine feature films were shot here.
These days, it's pretty bleak.
Minnesota, a land of lakes and lures, couldn't lure a filmmaker outside of the Coen clan to save our hides.
"Currently we are not in a competitive position, in fact we are extremely uncompetitive," Minnesota Film and TV Executive Director Lucinda Winter said Thursday.
For years we have lost movie crews to Canada, Michigan, almost everywhere else because we gave paltry tax breaks and incentives to production crews.
On Thursday the film board announced Minnesota will be back in play.
Starting this spring a film will be shot on the Iron Range, according to the filmmaker and Griffin Productions.
Thanksgiving at Denny's is the working title and its production team says it is the first of at least 10 more movies to come in the next three to five years in this state.
Don't like the silver screen?
It doesn't matter because movie makers bring something we all like, cash.
"You are bringing in jobs, you are bringing in money and you are advertising the state and that brings other movies and other businesses," MPR Arts editor Euan Kerr said of the news.
Case in point.
Eight years ago the film North Country was shot up on the range and according to the film board that brought in 5 million dollars in spending in a 16-week stretch.
Reclaiming the film industry is important.
"This is our largest US export, film and entertainment and we want to be competitive," Winter said.
(Copyright 2012 by KARE. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)