It’s lights, camera, action on Thursday for the Woody Harrelson movie “Wilson,” on location at the state prison in Stillwater. When I learned that the Fox Searchlight movie had chosen the Minnesota Correctional Facility for one of its scenes, it immediately brought to mind the new ban on cameras that I wrote about in February. Prison officials abruptly changed their news media policy to prohibit photos or videos of inmates, because cameras are considered “contraband.” I wanted to see whether Hollywood earned an exemption to that rule. Apparently not, according to records I received from the Minnesota Department of Corrections. Last week, I filed a public record request with the department to determine what kind of deal it struck with the movie makers. On Wednesday, I received a chain of emails between corrections officials and Michael Hartel, the Fox Searchlight location manager, negotiating the one-day shoot. A June 2 email from Hartel indicated the crew wanted to film mostly exterior scenes, and “Interior scene of our main character talking with a guard in a large cell block.” He also offered a deal to film inside a cell block: “In the past, at other prison facilities, we bought a double feature film for the inmates… Read full this story
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