Total capital project fundraising stands at $13.7 million. Grand Opening Fall 2024.

In support of its ongoing capital campaign, FilmNorth, the largest filmmaker support organization in the Upper Midwest, received four grants in December 2023 totaling more than $2 million: a $1.1 million grant from the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation, an $888,750 Transit Oriented Development grant from the Metropolitan Council (TOD), a $250,000 grant from the Best Buy Foundation, and a second $100,000 grant from the Hardenbergh Foundation.

In recognition of the Knight Foundation’s gift, FilmNorth will name its 10,000 square foot teaching facilities and offices the Knight Media Arts Center. This transformational center will include multiple classrooms, meeting rooms, editing suites, youth and community spaces, an outdoor patio for events, and FilmNorth’s offices.

“Arts and culture are at the core of community, connecting people to place and to one another, said Victoria Rogers, Vice President/Arts, Knight Foundation. “Our investment in the digital integration of FilmNorth’s new and expanded home will increase their overall capacity, further strengthening ties with Saint Paul communities and fostering meaningful connections between people and place. We’re proud to support FilmNorth’s decades-long work to uplift and empower visual storytelling in the Midwest.”

The $888,750 TOD award is designed to “connect people and places.” To that end, it will be applied to finishing the cinema space and funding a community green space behind the building that will host public gatherings and events.

“I’m thrilled about FilmNorth’s success. Their work and the resources they’ve secured will empower our community and the Arts while simultaneously bringing new life to beautiful historic buildings along University. We’re excited to see their hard work and vision become a reality.” Mitra Jalali Saint Paul City Council Chair and councilmember representing the new location.

This recent support adds to previous grants and gifts totaling more than $13.7 million, including a $2 million state appropriation; $3.25 million in an Historic Tax Credit grant; $150,000 each from the Saint Paul and F.R. Bigelow Foundations; individual, corporate, family foundation and foundation gifts. An initial, lead gift of $500,000 from Bill & Michelle Pohlad was also received earlier last year. FilmNorth’s showpiece, 54-seat, state-of-the-art cinema will be named after the Academy Award winning Minnesota filmmaker and philanthropist and be known as the Bill Pohlad Cinema. In addition to providing a much-needed Saint Paul screening venue for diverse area film festivals and values-aligned organizations, the cinema will be a resource and incubator space for local filmmakers and grow FilmNorth’s signature screening series and professional development programs.

Working with building partner D/O Architects, led by architect Colin Oglesby, the entire 24,000 square foot development will be known as the 2441 Arts Building. It will be home to FilmNorth and D/O Architects as well as innovative businesses serving the public and private sectors—all in a building designed to LEED standards (Leadership in Energy and Environmental Design), a globally recognized symbol of sustainability and achievement, providing a framework for healthy, highly efficient, and costsaving green buildings.

“FilmNorth is proud that our vision has inspired so many leading foundations, organizations, and individuals to partner with us as we build on our past successes and go boldly into the future,” said FilmNorth Executive Director Andrew Peterson. “Our region is teeming with talented storytellers who are moving culture forward. Our new home will help us to expand existing programming and create new opportunities for artists at every stage of their careers who live and work in the North.”

FilmNorth is building a massive new hub for local filmmakers in St. Paul. Here’s a look behind the scenes.

About FilmNorth
FilmNorth’s mission is to empower artists to tell their stories, launch and sustain successful careers, and advance The North as a leader in the national network of independent filmmakers. We achieve our mission by nurturing a vibrant, diverse community of film and media artists; providing education and resources at every stage of their careers; and celebrating their achievements.

FilmNorth inspires and provides opportunities for all filmmakers and media artists in the North to thrive, with a commitment to eliminate disparities for those who identify as Black, Indigenous and people of color, people with a disability, undocumented, rural, low income, and LGBTQIA2+ people, women, and those embodying intersections of these identities.