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Sunday, November 18, 2007

THANK YOU JOHN SOBERG

A Letter from Dave Halls

Our friend John Soberg passed away this week. He was diagnosed with cancer of the bile duct in May. John was a member of the Minnesota Film and TV Board of Directors, as well as an executive committee member of Shoot In Minnesota. Many of you did not know John, but you should know the impact he had on our production community.

John almost literally "fell out of the sky" for us. Three years ago I received a phone call from him, and he introduced himself by saying that he briefly was a stand-in for Garrison Keilor on "A Prairie Home Companion.” He said he was fascinated by our industry, and was amazed to discover that Minnesota was rich in technical and production talent. He had heard that locally our industry was struggling, and was aware that there was an effort underway to lobby the state legislature for production incentives. John told me that he was fortunate to have been successful in his business ventures and was looking for new challenges in his life. He mentioned that he had experience as a volunteer lobbyist in Washington, D.C. as well as being politically connected here in Minnesota. He asked if he could be of help to Shoot In Minnesota.

John was extremely intelligent and articulate. He was a big man both physically and spiritually. At 45 years of age, he died too young, yet he was a wise old soul. He was one of those people that seemed to always say and do the right thing. He also did what he said he was going to do. John often said to me, "the only thing we are fighting against is fear, doubt and uncertainty". I know that John lived by those words until his last breath.

John's talents and abilities were quickly noticed by Lucinda Winter, Executive Director of the Minnesota Film and TV Board. John became a member of the Film and TV Board of Directors in 2006 and served as Chair of the Snowbate Operations Committee.

Whenever the legislative process became difficult to understand or when there were moments of despair, John was always there with sage advice, a positive attitude and a plan of action.

It was always a bit of a mystery to me why John was compelled to help in the effort to strengthen production incentives in Minnesota. His motivations were not driven by professional or financial gain from the motion picture industry. He told me that he did not quite understand it either, but that he did indeed feel "a calling" to be involved. In an email that John sent out in May, announcing that he had been diagnosed with cancer he said the following, "It has been a great journey. Several lifetimes of experience and adventure have been compacted into these years. I have found that service to others is the most fulfilling.”

John was indeed a man of service. He gave his time unselfishly to our cause. John took the time out of his busy days, managing his businesses, and raising his four boys, to give advice, encouragement and to take action. John represented our community well at the State Capitol as he met with legislators and Governor Pawlenty. John attended a meeting at the Capitol in September with representatives of the Governor’s office. John was visibly very ill and under quite a bit of discomfort at that time, but remained his old self - articulate and persuasive.

Our thoughts and prayers go out to John's wife Tarryn and their four boys, Zach, Alex, Daniel and Benjamin.

John's absence in our community will surely be felt. Yet, we are stronger, better people for knowing him. In honor of his memory we move on, always fighting fear, doubt and uncertainty.

God Bless John Soberg

Dave Halls
Executive Director/Shoot In Minnesota

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