The movie trailer for A Great North Christmas has been released and Prince George plays a starring role.
Filmed in and around the city in March, post-production work is now complete and the Christmas romance will be ready for a North American-wide TV audience for broadcast sometime during this year’s winter holiday season.
“I think it’s going to be particularly exciting for anybody who lives in Prince George,” said A Great North Christmas producer Norm Coyne of Barker Street Cinema. “That’s part of the fun of watching a movie where you know where it’s been filmed. People will see the store they shop at or the street they walk down every day or the way they drive to work.
“People are already blowing my phone up because they’re excited about this Prince George love letter.”
The story centres around Caroline (actor Laura Mitchell), an entertainment lawyer living in Los Angeles who lost her parents in a car accident during the Christmas season four years earlier. Her L.A. friends decide she needs a vacation and find “this amazing resort way up north – Canada, to be exact,” to get her out of her Christmas blues. She lands in Prince George and while she’s out for a run at Connaught Hill Park she stumbles across her future love interest. Jonathan (Jay Hindle), a Toronto-based banker back for a Christmas visit with his family is out walking one of the huskies from the family farm near the city, where they operate a sled dog/snowmobiling adventure tour business. Christmas is also a sad time for Jonathan, still coming to grips with the recent death of his father.
Caroline takes advantage of her winter surroundings in Prince George and goes cross-country skiing at Otway Nordic Centre. Glen Mikkelsen, the former CN Centre general manager, has a cameo appearance as he approaches Caroline’s lesson group on his skis and lets them know he’s there with an “on your right” warning as he passes by.
Todd Doherty, the Cariboo Prince George MP, is also featured in the trailer and has a small part in the movie as Caroline’s demanding boss, who reminds her he’s expecting her to finish off contracts for review by the day after Christmas.
“Todd was keeping that pretty close to the chest, I think he wanted it to be a surprise,” said Coyne.
After her chance encounter with Jonathan, they meet again when she visits Sally Swan’s Dog Power Adventures, northwest of the city on Chief Lake Road. She takes a dog team for a ride around the property and with Jonathan driving gets her first taste of riding a snowmobile.
The trailer also offers glimpses of Lheidli T’enneh Memorial Park, where the Christmas grotto scene takes place and the downtown sets used to film the hotel entrance (Twisted Cork) and gift shop (Homework). A house on Cranbrook Hill where they visit a friend for Christmas dinner is also shown in the two-minute preview. Drone footage taken high above the city high above the outdoor locations will give viewers a good taste of some of the spectacular scenery in and around the city.
“I think everybody can see it looks like a fairly big-budget movie and we did it very cost efficiently,” said Coyne. “We got production value off the charts.
“I’m super-impressed with the (music) score that is being written by Prince George’s Jeremy Breaks, known to many as the guitar player for Dallas Smith. It’s got P.G. all over it.”
Filmed by Barker Street Cinema director James Douglas and produced by former Prince George film commissioner Sara Shaak’s Anamorphic Media and Trilight Entertainment, A Great North Christmas will be shown on one of the TV networks and Coyne figures it will be first broadcast in late-fall or early-winter. The movie will also be available on one of the streaming platforms.
Barker Street is hoping to host an advance screening/red carpet gala, but only if COVID restrictions ease and people are allowed to once again gather in a theatre. Coyne says no plans can be made until the current health orders change.
Coyne is now in pre-production for another movie romance – The Way to the Heart - to be filmed in the city May 25-June 11. Executive producers Tom and Nada Newell are backing the film.
“There will be an announcement coming up on May 25th of our cast and there will be someone you’ve definitely heard of,” said Coyne. “This is the crème de la crème of these kind of movies. I actually think it will be much bigger than a Hallmark movie, the screenplay is ridiculously good.
“Our director for that is Wendy Ord, a Canadian Screen Award winner, the Canadian Oscars. She’s unbelievable.”