Branford Welcomes Hallmark Christmas Movie Production

Bill O'Brien PhotoLast week if you were in the town center you might have thought you were seeing things.

Bill O'Brien Photo“Those look like movie cameras,” said one woman walking outside Caron’s Corner food market on Montowese Street. “What’s going on?” she asked.

Bill O'Brien Photo“They’re making a Christmas movie in town and this is one of their stops,” said one man as he left the store.

Bill O'Brien PhotoOne of the scenes in the movie was filmed at Caron’s and owner Linda Birbarie was very happy they were chosen. “We are very grateful to have been chosen for a scene in the latest Hallmark Christmas movie, “Romance at Reindeer Lodge,” she said. “We feel honored to have taken part in this once in a lifetime experience that we will never forget.”  Here Birbarie checks things out during a break in the action.

Bill O'Brien PhotoSometimes there was a do over, a “Take Four.”

“Romance at Reindeer Lodge” is about a group of adults from different parts of the country who have sworn off partaking in holiday events. Two of those people are Molly, played by actress Nicky Whelan, and Jared, played by Josh Kelly.

Bill O'Brien PhotoUpon arriving at Reindeer Lodge, they discover it’s a Christmas-themed ranch. With no flight out until after Christmas, the group ends up staying. Soon the Christmas activities melt everyone’s cynical hearts. And Molly and Jared’s love begins to blossom.

Caron’s Corner is just one of the locations in town used to film a variety of scenes. Pasta Cosi, Possessions, PS Fine Stationers, and the Branford Town Green, complete with a horse and buggy and a lit Christmas tree, were the others.

Bill O'Brien PhotoHere the Caron’s staff becomes the backup film crew.

Bill O'Brien PhotoHere Director Colin Theys checks on actress Nicky Whelan as the hairdresser touches up her hair.

Bill O'Brien PhotoHere a crew member holds a directional microphone to record the actors

Bill O'Brien PhotoGreg Nutcher (pictured), a Hamden resident is the “location manager” for the production company Synthetic Cinema International, based in Rocky Hill. He was responsible for finding appropriate settings in the greater New Haven area for the movie to be filmed. “I grew up around here and had a feel for many of the locations that were chosen,” Nutcher said.

A graduate of Hamden High School, Nutcher always had an interest in acting, pursuing his interest over the years by appearing in commercials, plays, and films when opportunities came his way.

Nutcher served on the Hamden Police Department and retired as a detective after 34 years of service. He now serves as a Branford Department police officer, a supernumerary, when needed on occasion. 

“I enjoy being involved in this line of business,” Nutcher said about his movie life. “You could say I’m ‘living the dream’ right now.” He went on the say the movie, which will be shown on Dec. 17 on the Hallmark Channel, is moving along on schedule and is about 85 percent complete.
Other scenes included by Nutcher in the production were filmed at Tweed New Haven Airport and at a home on Ridge Road in North Haven that was used for the lodge.

It would be nice if the Hallmark movie became as acclaimed as the legendary “It’s a Wonderful Life” or “Miracle on 34th Street” or “White Christmas,  but even if it doesn’t, we can always say Branford was a part of Hallmark’s Christmas 2017 for all the world to see.

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posted by: DancinFool on November 28, 2017  10:27am

I worked three days as a background actor on this shoot. Synthetic Cinema was excellent to work for. Thank you to Jessica our 2nd 2nd Assistant Director for making it fun.