Independent Television Festival Finds New Home in Duluth

City Announces Festival Coming Next October

DULUTH, Minn.- Big things are in store for the city of Duluth, as it’s the new home of the Independent Television, or ITV, Festival.

It started in Los Angeles then moved to Vermont – and is now on its way to make Duluth a TV star.

It’s also expected to pump $1.5 million into the city’s economy.

This adds to the $40 million which flows from the creative arts annually, according to the City.

According to the Minnesota Film and TV Office Philip Gilpin, Executive Director of ITVFest, was initially pitched the Twin Cities, but passed because he was looking for something smaller with less distractions.

Gilpin then heard about Duluth, and was sold.

“Everything that they are about is creating a community of conversation and expression annually,” said Mayor Emily Larson, at a press conference announcing the Festival’s coming. “But also a community that was small enough that the focus could really be on the purpose for them being here.”

“Duluth feels like it hit all those boxes for them.”

Along with the Duluth Superior Film Festival, Minnesota is now the only state to have both a Film and Television Festival.

Independent Television includes shows like House of Cards on Netflix, and Fargo on FX.

Shows typically have a film or theater quality, on a TV scale. They also tend to employ longer and more involved storylines.

In the past the ITVFest has lasted from 5–7 days.

It gives TV–lovers from the public a chance to look behind the scenes at how shows are created.

It also fosters an environment of networking for TV executives searching for new programming for networks like Netflix, HBO and Disney.

They connect with filmmakers, attend workshops, hear pitches, and talk aspects like location and sets.

It’s an opportunity the Film and TV Office says will boost the entire state, and give Duluth national exposure.

“It’s not just about Duluth, it’s about the whole state, we’ll all benefit,” said Riki McManus, Director of the Upper Minnesota Film Office. “And I could see potential workshops being up on the Iron Range, Ludlow’s island, or someplace like that, or up in Grand Marais.”

Minnesota Film and TV also announced a TV production incentive program for the Iron Range.

The Department of Iron Range Resources and Rehabilitation, or IRRRB has created a $250,000 fund available for companies who spend any money in a taconite district.

Those companies will receive a 20% rebate on any production purchases such as food, dry cleaning, set-building supplies, and more.

After projects filmed there in the past saw financial gains in the region, the incentive program is an effort to reignite the industry there.

According to McManus, that spark will ignite an inferno in Duluth.

“What it does, it plants the flag that makes Independent Television important to Duluth, and Duluth important to Independent Television.”

More information on ITVFest can be found at

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