Native Duluth Filmmaker Sets Sights on Northland For Film Debut

By KBJR News 1

September 2, 2013 Updated Sep 3, 2013 at 2:08 PM CDT

Duluth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - Frogs and film may be a unique combination, but that's exactly what one native Duluth filmmaker is hoping to bring together on the big screen and with just the right financial support and community concern, this filmmaker will bring production of his eco-thriller film to the Northland.

"This is beautiful."

For Jim Ojala, the backwoods of northern Minnesota is the perfect backdrop for his first feature film.

"Maybe I'm crazy but I'm sticking to my guns on, this is a Minnesota story and needs to take place here," said filmmaker Jim Ojala.

Ojala is in the scouting stage of bringing production of his feature film debut to the Northland.

"'Strange Nature' is the first film to expose the deformed frog phenomena that began in Minnesota and where it may lead," said Ojala.

The eco-thriller, is based on a true, unsolved ecological mystery surrounding mutated frogs found in Minnesota as far back as the 1960's.

It's a problem that Ojala says will captivate thrill seekers and environmentalists a like.

"We're going to make an awesome, entertaining film, but at the same time, we're really hoping we can re-expose this issue to America or the world even."

Riki McManus, Director of the Upper Minnesota Film Office says she was on-board with Ojala's cinematic concept from the beginning.

"The story itself is intriguing, it's a thriller and yet, you're looking at kind of an eco-thriller, so it is the environment and what we are doing to the environment and what if it goes a step farther," said Riki McManus, Upper Minnesota Film Office.

McManus says if it's not for the Northland's natural settings that draw filmmakers like Ojala to the area, it might be the financial incentive.

"We have a great incentive going on in our state, we have what we call 'snow-bate', that's a rebate back to the filmmaker, I call it give a little get a lot, because if they come and spend millions of dollars here we just give them a little bit," said McManus.

So, whether it's a financial incentive from the state or the Minnesota state of mind, Ojala is convinced his film fits in the Northland.

Ojala says he's in the fundraising stage of the project and hopes to raise enough support to begin production of Strange Nature by September 2014.

To learn more about the Strange Nature film project click here.

Jeremy Brickley
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