STATEMENT OF THE MINNEAPOLIS PUBLIC HOUSING AUTHORITY (MPHA)
following the meeting of the resident council of 1627 South Sixth Street regarding “Mogadishu, Minnesota” filming at that location.
October 5, 2016
At the September 28 meeting of the MPHA Board of Commissioners, the board passed a motion calling on MPHA staff to move ahead with contract negotiations with HBO for the filming of a television pilot titled, “Mogadishu, Minnesota.” The motion included the requirement that the use of MPHA facilities for filming be approved by the highrise resident council of the building where HBO producers wished to film. HBO producers identified the Cedar Highrise development, and specifically the building at 1627 South Sixth Street, as their chosen site. A second condition of the motion required that the fee earned by the MPHA from this contract be directed to the community within the building for its benefit.
This afternoon, the resident council of 1627 South Sixth Street gathered to hear invited guests from both HBO and a group opposed to the show. Residents of all buildings in the Cedar High Apartment complex were invited to attend the first part of the discussion; residents of only 1627 then returned to their building for a private discussion and vote by secret ballot. Resident councils operate under the umbrella of the Minneapolis Highrise Representative Council, a nonprofit organization independent from the MPHA. MPHA staff provided security and other logistical assistance, per our usual protocol, for a gathering held in our buildings; however, the resident council set the agenda and format for its meeting and its vote.
Based upon that secret ballot vote, the resident council has rejected the request to film “Mogadishu, Minnesota” in their building. According to the terms of the MPHA board motion, this means that filming cannot go forward utilizing MPHA facilities. The MPHA respects the decision of the resident council, who voted unanimously against the filming.
In keeping with the motion from our board to move forward, MPHA staff has worked in good faith to lay the groundwork for possible filming. These actions include facilitating an HBO scouting visit to the location earlier this week, readying a contract to submit immediately to HBO in the event of an affirmative vote, coordinating the logistics for holding an unscheduled resident council meeting on short-notice, and replying promptly to all communications from HBO representatives. At the same time, we have taken in and acknowledge the concerns some public housing residents and others in the community have directed to our office in recent days.