How Minnesota Appeared in Film and TV in 2022

Little America Episode on Chef Jamal Hashi

The Apple TV+ anthology series Little America adapts real-life immigrant stories across the country to show the vast amount of experiences our nation contains. One episode in its second season visits Minnesota, illuminating chef Jamal Hashi’s experience and runaway success with introducing camel-on-a-stick at the State Fair in 2010. It’s historic too for depicting what is believed to be the first major Hollywood studio production of Somali life in the U.S. or Minnesota, and also features Somali actors and writers (some who have local ties).

Lizzo Gave Us a Documentary and So Much More

Of course we have to add a whole separate section for Lizzo’s other endeavors. She’s shown us she’s more than just a singer/rapper/dancer/That Bitch. She burst out on the TV scene with the launch of her Emmy-winning reality competition show on Amazon Prime, Lizzo’s Watch Out for the Big Grrrls, that follows her search for badass big girls to join her on her world tour. On Thanksgiving she released Love, Lizzo, her documentary that shows her journey “chasing the music” through heartbreak, controversy, and ultimately success. As it took her from Detroit, to Houston, Minneapolis, and LA, it only touched (frustratingly) briefly on her time in the Twin Cities, where she rose to fame and built her brand from 2011 to 2016. Minneapolis, she said, was where she could truly be accepted.

In case you needed a little recap: she also performed on SNL twice this year, showed off her flute skills on Carpool Karaoke, did a little holiday Day Drinking with Seth Meyers, earned her Hot Ones crown, and had an intimate interview alongside her DJ Sophia Eris with the legendary Narduwar. And she’s secured us all front row seats to her Special Tour with a Live in Concert special coming to HBO on New Year’s Eve.,  

Move Me

A decade ago, Kelsey Peterson dove into Lake Superior, but came out paralyzed from the chest down. This didn’t let the choreographer stop herself from making art out of her movement. The dancer had to relearn how to use her body in a new way, filmed in this captivating documentary that finds her reclaiming her art form, and bringing more recognition to the disability community. Nowadays, she’s living off the grid. As she told us: “We’re oftentimes put in this one-dimensional box as people with disabilities, and I hope that by sharing my story, people can see that we are very dynamic and powerful and complicated and interesting human beings just like anybody else.”


This new documentary premiered at the MSP Film Fest this year, and captured the true spirit of high school hockey rivalries in the north. More than a sports documentary, it also gets into the small town dynamics that fuel the game’s passion and the coming-of-age stories of each team. 

Yam Haus on American Song Contest

Minnesota’s own indie pop-rock outfit, Yam Haus, stood for the land of 10,000 lakes in NBC’s newest national singing competition, American Song Contest, that debuted this year. The weekly show aimed to construct an American version of the popular Eurovision song writing contest, featuring 56 musical groups representing each state and territory in a head-to-head competition searching for the best original song. The coolest part? Yam Haus was the first group to perform. Although the group didn’t win the competition, their song “Ready To Go” debuted on the show and represented Minnesota in all of our quirky, indie-music-loving glory.       

Yia Vang on Iron Chef and Feral

Chef Yia Vang, of Union Hmong Kitchen competed and starred in Iron Chef: Quest for an Iron Legend, which aired in June. Vang, who’s a James Beard nominated Chef, took the opportunity to showcase Hmong cuisine on the show. 

Vang is also hosting and starring in a new show on the Outdoor Channel. Feral follows Vang hunting animals in the wild, where he then prepares and eats them with his award winning chef skills. So far, he’s cooked things like Lion Fish, Burmese Python and Green Iguana. 

Dancing with the Stars featuring Daniel Durant 

Known for his starring role as Leo in CODA, the film that did a clean sweep at the Oscars in 2021, Duluth-native Daniel Durant took on a new venture: dancing. As the third deaf contestant to compete on the celebrity dance competition, he placed 5th with his partner Britt Stewart. They were eliminated in the semifinals but not before showing the world he can dance—even without music. 

Ann Kim on Chef’s Table: Pizza

Reservations for Young Joni filled up months in advance after resident James Beard winner Ann Kim got the Netflix treatment. When the 45-minute episode was released in September, the world got to know the story the Twin Cities has been celebrating for years: Kim and her family’s immigration to Minnesota from Korea when she was just a child, her time in the local theater world, the painstaking research and love she put into opening—and championing—her portfolio of local restaurants, and her “F Fear” mentality that’s carried her through it all. It made us cry, it made us proud, it made us hungry.

Merry Kiss Cam

The talk of the holiday season (OK, maybe just a few words) was the Duluth-based Hulu Christmas movie Merry Kiss Cam. In it, a cynical artist walks into an Irish pub, instantly hits it off with the pub’s cheerful owner, whom she’s somehow never met before (of course)—and, when they go on a first date to a UMD Bulldogs game, they’re cinematically caught on the kiss cam (of course). But suddenly, the (in this universe, at least) underdog local team starts winning. Could these two snowy lovebirds be the good-luck charm? Peep local landmarks like Fitger’s, the Radisson, Carmody Irish Pub, and more (plus Bent Paddle, Bentleyville, and Duluth Pack merch) along the road to happily ever after.

Bonus: Marmalade‘s MN Filming with Joe Keery

Marmalade, a movie about a bank heist and romantic reunion was filming in Jordan Minnesota in June of 2022. Many people might remember this as the time Stranger Things star Joe Keery was in Minnesota. They filmed in a small antique shop called Water Street Antiques, and following the shoot, Keery hit up some of Minneapolis’s best vintage shops.

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