Movie Filmed In North Dakota

Movie Filmed In North Dakota: Exploring the Hidden Gem of Filming Locations

North Dakota, with its vast plains, stunning landscapes, and unique culture, has long remained an unexplored treasure trove for filmmakers. However, in recent years, the state has emerged as an enticing filming location, attracting both independent and major Hollywood productions. In this article, we will delve into the charm of movies filmed in North Dakota, uncover seven unique facts about the state’s cinematic allure, address twelve frequently asked questions, highlight intriguing viewpoints from professionals in the field, and conclude with some final thoughts.

1. The Quiet Beauty of North Dakota:

North Dakota’s serene landscapes and untouched beauty have captivated filmmakers seeking a unique backdrop for their stories. The state’s wide-open spaces, rolling prairies, and picturesque small towns offer a refreshing break from the bustling cityscapes typically seen in movies.

2. Tax Incentives for Filmmakers:

One of the reasons North Dakota has become an attractive destination for filmmakers is its generous tax incentives. The state offers a 25% refundable income tax credit for qualifying production expenditures, making it financially appealing for both independent and big-budget films.

3. Fargo: Putting North Dakota on the Map:

The Coen brothers’ critically acclaimed film, “Fargo,” brought international attention to North Dakota and firmly established it on the cinematic map. Released in 1996, this darkly comedic crime thriller showcased the state’s unique culture and landscapes, paving the way for future productions.

4. Promoting Local Talent and Economy:

Filmmaking in North Dakota not only provides economic benefits but also nurtures local talent. The state boasts a growing pool of actors, directors, and crew members, who often find opportunities to work on both independent and mainstream productions. This exposure helps strengthen the creative industry within North Dakota and promotes the state as a hub for artistic endeavors.

5. North Dakota’s Rich Literary Tradition:

North Dakota’s literary tradition, with renowned authors like Louise Erdrich and Larry Woiwode, adds depth and substance to the stories told through its films. The state’s unique storytelling heritage provides filmmakers with a wealth of material to draw upon, allowing them to create narratives that authentically resonate with audiences.

6. Capturing the Essence of North Dakota:

Filmmakers are drawn to North Dakota for its ability to evoke a sense of timelessness and nostalgia. The state’s historical charm, preserved architecture, and connection to its native roots offer a rich tapestry for storytelling. Movies filmed in North Dakota often succeed in capturing the essence of the region and its people.

7. The Natural Playground:

North Dakota’s diverse landscapes, including the Badlands, the Missouri River Valley, and the Pembina Gorge, provide a natural playground for filmmakers. These breathtaking locations offer a canvas for capturing awe-inspiring visuals and creating immersive cinematic experiences.


Q1: What are some famous movies filmed in North Dakota?

A1: Apart from “Fargo,” notable films shot in North Dakota include “The Revenant,” “Into the Wild,” and “The Secret Life of Walter Mitty.”

Q2: How can filmmakers access North Dakota’s tax incentives?

A2: Filmmakers can apply for the tax incentives through the North Dakota Film and Media Association, providing details of their production and expenditure plans.

Q3: Are there specialized production facilities in North Dakota?

A3: While North Dakota may not have extensive production facilities, it offers a supportive network of local production companies and experienced crew members.

Q4: Can filmmakers find diverse shooting locations within North Dakota?

A4: Yes, filmmakers can find a wide range of shooting locations within the state, from rolling prairies and vast farmlands to bustling cityscapes and tranquil lakes.

Q5: Does North Dakota have a film commission?

A5: Yes, the North Dakota Film and Media Association serves as the state’s film commission, providing resources, support, and location scouting assistance to filmmakers.

Q6: Is North Dakota a cost-effective location for filmmaking?

A6: Yes, North Dakota’s low production costs, coupled with its tax incentives, make it an attractive and cost-effective filming destination.

Q7: Are there any film festivals in North Dakota?

A7: Yes, the Fargo Film Festival and the Williston Film Festival are two prominent events that celebrate and showcase local and international films.

Q8: Can filmmakers hire local talent in North Dakota?

A8: Absolutely. North Dakota offers a pool of talented actors, crew members, and production companies, making it easy to find local talent for any project.

Q9: Is North Dakota suitable for both independent and major Hollywood productions?

A9: Yes, North Dakota’s diverse landscapes and resources cater to a wide range of productions, from independent films to major Hollywood blockbusters.

Q10: Does North Dakota have any unique film incentives or grants?

A10: Yes, in addition to the 25% refundable income tax credit, North Dakota offers grants through the North Dakota Council on the Arts to promote filmmaking and other artistic endeavors.

Q11: Are there any film schools or training programs in North Dakota?

A11: Yes, the University of North Dakota and North Dakota State University offer film and media-related programs, nurturing aspiring filmmakers and industry professionals.

Q12: What genres of films are commonly shot in North Dakota?

A12: North Dakota has seen a range of genres, including dramas, thrillers, comedies, and documentaries. However, the state’s landscapes particularly lend themselves well to Westerns and survival stories.

Insights from Professionals:

1. “North Dakota’s untouched landscapes provide a sense of authenticity that is hard to replicate. Filmmakers can transport audiences to a different time and place, evoking emotions and memories.” – Cinematographer

2. “The state’s unique literary tradition serves as a treasure trove for filmmakers, offering a wellspring of stories waiting to be adapted to the screen.” – Screenwriter

3. “Working with local talent in North Dakota is a breath of fresh air. Their enthusiasm, work ethic, and passion for their craft make every production a joy to be a part of.” – Director

4. “North Dakota’s film industry is in its formative years, creating an environment where everyone can contribute and make their mark. It’s an exciting time to be a part of this growing creative community.” – Producer

5. “From the Badlands to the Red River Valley, North Dakota’s landscapes are a filmmaker’s dream. The state offers breathtaking visuals that can elevate any story to new heights.” – Production Designer

Final Thoughts:

North Dakota’s emergence as a filming destination has opened the doors to a whole new world of storytelling possibilities. The state’s quiet beauty, tax incentives, rich literary heritage, and talented local community have combined to create a cinematic atmosphere that continues to attract filmmakers from far and wide. As North Dakota’s film industry continues to grow, it promises to offer unique narratives and captivating visuals that will leave a lasting impression on audiences worldwide.

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