North Dakota Film Production

 

Film Production Guide

 

Thinking of filming in North Dakota? Here's a rundown on production crews, local contacts, filming crops, information on filming North Dakota Indian Reservations, government listings and North Dakota weather data. (Please note: North Dakota Tourism does not endorse any of the production crews. This information is for research purposes only.)

Filming Crops

Filming on North Dakota Indian Reservations

American Indian Reservations

Tribal Colleges

Government

Job Service

Labor

Corporate Registration

Taxes

Worker's Compensation 

North Dakota Weather

 

Filming Crops

North Dakota is in the heart of the Breadbasket of America. Our blazing yellow fields of sunflowers, amber waves of grain and other crops provide a striking background for road scenes or can be featured for their natural beauty.

Here is a brief description of what the crops commonly found in North Dakota look like and the best time for shooting to get the best effect. 

Crop, Description, Most Photogenic

  • Alfalfa: Purple flowering clusters. Shin high., June, possibly August
  • Barley: Small grain. Fuzzy heads. Thigh high., Mid-June to late July
  • Corn: Tall green, leafy with tassels., Late July to late August
  • Canola: Can grow between 2-6 feet high and has yellow flowers. Mid to late June.
  • Edible beans: Bushy, leafy green rows. Shin high., August
  • Flax: Blue flowers on Thigh-high stems., Late June to late July
  • Hay:Tall grass. Green or light brown, June
  • Oats: Kernels hang down on thigh-high stems., Late June to late July
  • Potatoes: Bushy, leafy green rows shin or knee high., Late June to late August
  • Soybeans: Bushy, leafy green rows shin or knee high., August
  • Sugarbeets: Short, leafy rows. Stemless leaves., August to mid-September
  • Sunflowers: Large, bright yellow heads all facing east, Mid-July to mid-August
  • Wheat: Small grain. Knee high., Late June to late July

Filming on North Dakota Indian Reservations

North Dakota recognizes the independent nation status of each reservation and does not claim any authority or jurisdiction on reservation lands. The North Dakota Film Commission encourages filmmakers to respect Indian lands and people who contribute to their work so they will be welcomed to return. We also strongly support the creative control of the filmmaker.

Contacts: This production guide lists contact numbers for each North Dakota Indian Reservation. Current tribal office-holders and contact information for tribal elders can be obtained through the Film Commission, the North Dakota Indian Affairs Commission (701-328-2428) or the tribal office. Tribal colleges also are excellent sources for research and interviews.

Pow wow Etiquette: Pow wows are colorful, exciting and look great on film. But before filming or taping a pow wow, please contact event organizers to discuss your purpose and what you wish to do during the event. You likely will be welcomed with open arms. Please check in at the pow wow announcer's booth when you arrive. Some portions of the pow wow are considered sacred and private and may be forbidden to film. Please display deepest respect for any ceremony or reenactment of sacred ceremonies.

Cultural Sensitivities: It is a common concern of filmmakers to be sensitive to cultural and racial differences. As a rule, common courtesy and respect go very far. When in doubt about terminology, a direct but polite question will not be found offensive.

Compensation: Film crews working in North Dakota have found Indian people generous and willing to help. The Film Commission respectfully asks filmmakers to make reasonable offers of reimbursement and compensation when asking for something of value such as an interview, research or acting.

Confidentiality: Unless otherwise instructed, the North Dakota Film Commission considers all scripts, treatments and other business of the filmmaker to be proprietary and confidential. Tribes and tribal members deserve to understand the nature and scope of a project, and therefore, should be given some kind of script or treatment when asked to contribute.

American Indian Reservations

  • Sisseton-Wahpeton Tribe: Sisseton-Wahpeton Reservation, Box 509, Agency Village, S.D. 57262, Phone: 605-698-3911
  • Spirit Lake Tribe: Fort Totten Reservation, Box 99, Fort Totten, N.D. 58335, Phone: 701-766-4221
  • Standing Rock Sioux: Standing Rock Reservation, Box D, Fort Yates, N.D. 58538, Phone: 701-854-7201
  • Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Arikara, Hidatsa): Fort Berthold Reservation, 404 Frontage Road, New Town, N.D. 58763, Phone: 701-627-4781
  • Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewas: Turtle Mountain Reservation, Box 900, Belcourt, N.D. 58316, Phone: 701-477-0470

Tribal Colleges

  • Fort Berthold Community College: Box 590, New Town, N.D. 58763, Phone: 701-627-3665
  • Little Hoop Community College: Box 269, Fort Totten, N.D. 58335, Phone: 701-766-4415
  • Sitting Bull College: HC 1, Box 4, Fort Yates, N.D. 58538, Phone: 701-854-3861
  • Turtle Mountain Community College: Box 340, Belcourt, N.D. 58316, Phone: 701-477-7862
  • United Tribes Technical College: 3315 University Drive, Bismarck, N.D. 58504, Phone: 701-255-3285

Government

The following listings should help make it easier for you to do business in North Dakota. We are here to help whenever and wherever we can. Our reputation for being friendly and helpful includes people you will be dealing with in North Dakota government agencies. And you can expect the same helpful and hard-working attitude when working with North Dakota production crews anywhere in the state.

A consolidated registration form allows companies to register with the North Dakota Tax Department for income tax withholding, Job Service North Dakota for unemployment insurance and North Dakota Worker's Compensations Bureau for worker's compensation insurance.

Job Service

In addition to the listings in this manual, temporary employees may be sought through employment service companies or through Job Service North Dakota. All employers or North Dakota citizens are liable for payroll taxes (for unemployment insurance). For information on payroll taxes, job applicant matching and other employment services, contact: 
 
1000 East Divide Ave., PO Box 5507
Bismarck, North Dakota 58506-5507
Phone: 701-328-2825
Fax: 701-328-4000
 

Labor

North Dakota is a right-to-work state with a highly motivated and skilled workforce. North Dakotans have a reputation for a strong work ethic. Child labor and minimum wage information can be obtained through the Film Commission office or by contacting the North Dakota Department of Labor:
 
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Department 406
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0340
Phone: 701-328-2031
Fax: 701-328-2660
 

Corporate Registration

Film companies operating in North Dakota must obtain a certificate of authority from the Secretary of State to transact business in the state. If the company is a limited partnership or a general partnership using a fictitious name, it must register with the Secretary of State prior to transacting business in North Dakota. Production companies originating in North Dakota also must register with the Secretary of State. 
 
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Department 108
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0500
Phone: 701-328-2900
 

Taxes

North Dakota's tax structure is among the nation's fairest, and film companies may qualify for an income tax exemption. The income tax exemption is available to "primary sector businesses which add value to a product, process or service which creates new wealth." This exemption requires approval by the State Board of Equalization. Contact the Tax Commissioner's office for more information. Any individual, company or corporation doing business in the state must file a return. All employers are required to register for income tax withholding. All employees must file an individual income tax return, the exceptions being Minnesota and Montana residents who qualify for reciprocity. North Dakota's sales and use tax is 5 percent on most tangible goods and a very limited number of services. In addition, some cities impose local sales or use taxes of between 1 and 2 percent on the first $2,500 of a transaction. A credit is available for the amount of sales tax that was paid to another state on equipment brought into North Dakota. 
 
600 E. Boulevard Ave.
Eighth Floor
Bismarck, North Dakota 58505-0599
Phone: 701-328-2770
Fax: 701-328-3700
 

Worker's Compensation 

Whether or not a company will be liable for Worker's Compensation insurance on its own employees or temporary North Dakota workers depends on gross salary within a calendar year. For information regarding Worker's Compensation insurance, contact the Worker's Compensation Bureau.
 
500 E. Front Ave.
Bismarck, North Dakota 58504
Phone: 701-328-3800
Fax: 701-328-3820 or 888-786-8695
 

North Dakota Weather

Few serious discussions about North Dakota end without talking about the weather. A common misconception is that it always is cold in North Dakota. It comes as a surprise to many that North Dakota actually has a remarkably long temperate season, including beautiful sunny days in June, when the sun rises before 6 a.m. and sets after 9:30 p.m. In addition, North Dakota has more than 200 sunny or mostly sunny days per year. Click here for more information on climates for various locations in North Dakota.