You’ve heard of Christmas in July but what about Christmas in September. That is what will be happening in downtown Huntsville when Hallmark Films brings their movie crew to town for three days to shoot part of Rivers Crossing at Christmas.
From September 26 to 28, Kent Park will be transformed into a winter wonderland, complete with twinkling lights and fake snow, as the Hallmark film crew moves into town for the end of its shooting schedule.
Douglas Brisebois, location manager for Canine Christmas Productions Inc., was before council on Wednesday Aug. 29 to explain what the film location will mean to the town.
“I wanted you to know the film’s impact,” Brisebois told council. “It’s a fine balance between economic development and disruption. It’s a balance because you want to create jobs and have people to stay and spend money in the town, but you also want to manage the disruptions to the locals because it doesn’t take long before people get jaded.”
Getting everything in place for the three-day shoot is a huge undertaking. Brisebois said he and his crew will be communicating with everyone from Town and District staff, to police and fire service, schools, residents, and local business owners who will be asked to sign a release so that their business can be shown in the movie.
The biggest disruption will be to traffic and parking. Brunel Road from Main Street to High Street will be closed starting at 7am on Wednesday Sept. 26 to about noon on Saturday Sept. 29. As well, the east bound lane of Main Street will be closed from West Street to Brunel Road. Police officers will be stationed in the area to ‘lock-up’ traffic for no more than three to five minutes as required for filming to take place.
Brisebois said they will also be looking for some parking areas to locate trucks and trailers for the duration of the shoot. “We need to find a place to have our base camp,” Brisebois told council. “This is where all of our hair, makeup and wardrobe trucks go. It has to be within two to five minutes of the set.” According to Brisebois the space needed is about the size of an ice rink; big enough to park four to five semi trailers. They also require spaces for their tech trucks to be park and off-loaded. The two places of interest are River Mill Park and the municipal lot across from St. Andrews Church.
Brisebois acknowledged that lighting may be an issue for people who live downtown since the Christmas scenes will be shot in the dark and crews will be working until about 2 a.m. However, he assured council that there would not be a noise problem.
With a budget $2.8 million, Brisebois says Rivers Crossing at Christmas is a beautiful story. “It is about a woman with a service dog coming back from Afghanistan,” Brisebois shared. “She gets in an accident. She meets a handsome, beautiful judge who just sweeps her off her feet, and they fall in love. I think it will show the town in good light,” promised Brisebois.
Rivers Crossing at Christmas is scheduled to air on the Hallmark channel in February 2019.
UPDATE Sept. 26, 2018: The name of the movie has been changed to A Veteran’s Christmas and it will air on November 11.
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