Arts and Culture

The role tax credits played for new movie 'Marmalade,' filmed entirely in Minnesota

A young man and woman sit on top of a car
"Stranger Things" actor Joe Keery stars alongside Camila Morrone in "Marmalade," a movie filmed in Minnesota. Principal photography wrapped in July 2022.
Courtesy of Bo Hakala

A movie filmed entirely in Minnesota was released Friday, marking one of the first productions made possible by new state tax incentives.

“Marmalade” is a romantic heist film starring “Stranger Things” actor Joe Keery and actress and model Camila Morrone. It was one of the top selling movies Friday at Marcus Theatres, where it currently has an exclusive run in Minnesota.

With a modest budget of almost $2.4 million, the film was shot over four weeks in 2022.

People might recognize a popular drive-in from Taylors Falls, an old farmhouse in Lake Elmo, and other familiar scenes in Minnesota cities like Jordan, Henderson and Stillwater.

A woman directs an actor near a camera
The Drive In restaurant in Taylors Falls, Minn., is one of many local destinations featured in the 2024 movie "Marmalade." Principal photography wrapped in July 2022. Here, cinematographer Polly Morgan directs actor Aldis Hodge.
Courtesy of Bo Hakala

“Marmalade” is currently showing at Marcus Theatres in Oakdale and Shakopee. It is available to rent online and expected on a streaming service in the future.

Man stands in front of pharmacy counter
A Newport pharmacy is the backdrop in one scene from "Marmalade," a film shot entirely in Minnesota. Minneapolis actor Kevin Lokey stands across from "Stranger Things" star Joe Keery.
Courtesy of Bo Hakala

Melodie Bahan is executive director of the Minnesota Film & TV, the state’s film office. She said Marmalade was one of the first projects attracted to Minnesota after the state enacted a 25 percent income tax credit for production companies in 2021. The tax credit replaced the previous “Snowbate” film and television incentive program.

“The credit actually has made a huge difference in Minnesota’s standing within the industry,” Bahan said.

In 2023, state legislators voted to raise the tax credit cap from $5 million to $25 million. Bahan said that will make Minnesota more competitive with other states for even bigger film projects.

One of the eligibility requirements is that companies spend a minimum of $1 million on certain expenses in Minnesota. Those include location fees, equipment rentals, catering and compensation to Minnesota residents employed for production.

Bahan said at least 110 Minnesotans were employed in cast and crew roles for “Marmalade” with another 20 people hired as extras.

“The reason for incentives is really about the economics and the jobs,” she said, explaining most film budgets go towards wages.

Minnesotans in the film industry are already noticing the changes.

Location manager Anne Healy said more out-of-state projects have been coming her way since the passage of the tax credits.

Healy has been a location manager for 32 years, getting her start scouting Twin Cities hockey arenas for Disney’s “Mighty Ducks.” She said major films stopped coming to Minnesota after a previous film production tax credit was not renewed by the Minnesota Legislature.

Now, she thinks the credits — on top of Minnesota’s diverse landscape and relatively stable weather — might attract major investments.

“If we can get people to come here and look around, they usually will stay,” Healy said.