Minnesota Filmmakers Choose Range for Movie, Say More to Come

By KBJR News 1

November 19, 2012 Updated Nov 19, 2012 at 7:42 PM CDT

Eveleth, MN (NNCNOW.com) - A feature film will be shot on the Iron Range this spring. Filmmakers of the tentatively titled movie, "Thanksgiving at Denny's," were on the Range Monday for meetings regarding the logistics of shooting in the area.

"I read the script [and] I was like – Iron Range," said film partner, Buck Humphrey, of his thoughts on filming the movie on the Range.

Minnesota production company, Griffin Productions LLC is pairing with Washington Square Films to shoot the dramatic comedy on the Range.

"Thanksgiving at Denny's" is about an overweight man who loses his job in Chicago. He then returns to the Iron Range to win the heart of a girl he drove home drunk one night in high school.

Producer Jerry Seppala is the son of an Iron Ranger. While he grew up in the Metro area, he calls the Iron Range his second home and says it is a perfect location for the film.

"When I read the script I thought it was just perfect for the Iron Range," Seppala said, "Also, I'd like to, along with Buck [Humphrey] and another partner of ours, really establish an industry up here."

It's an industry that Minnesota hasn't often seen. In 2005, the film "North Country" was filmed on the Range, making a major impact on the area economy. However, Minnesota is often passed over for areas that give larger tax breas to movie producers.

"Really it's one of the most beautiful places on earth," said Seppala of the Range.

Seppala and others at Griffin Productions are hoping to make more movies in Minnesota. They say of the ten or more films they have in the works, they hope as many as possible are filmed on the Iron Range.

While the filmmakers haven't decided on specific shooting locations on the Range, they say that storefront areas in Virginia and views of the mine are definite possibilities.

The film's director, Josh Blum, says that scenes will be written into the script to include the mines.

"The mines are just too spectacular," said Blum, "We have these scenes...some walking and talking scenes, where I just feel like I maybe have to write some more [scenes featuring the mines] in because they're visually so interesting and exciting."

The filmmakers say that part of the draw to filming in the area was the wide range of scenery.

"The great thing is that it's not a cliché," said Blum, "It's there and it's special."

The filmmakers say they hope to begin shooting the film in April or May of 2013.

Written for the web by Jennifer Austin.