Back-to-back Hallmark movies shoot in southeastern Connecticut
If it’s March, it must be … Christmas?
Some sites around southeastern Connecticut have been decked out for the holidays for a very merry cause: the creation of a Hallmark movie.
Synthetic Cinema International, which is based in Rocky Hill and has shot countless TV movies in this region, is currently filming two Hallmark productions back-to-back here.
Andrew Gernhard, Synthetic owner and producer, declines to say who the films’ stars are or what the titles or plots are, citing Hallmark’s desire to keep the movies under wraps.
A publicity director from Hallmark Media likewise said Hallmark isn’t ready to announce the projects yet.
Olde Mistick Village, though, posted on its Facebook page photos of filming that had happened there and stated that the title of the production was “Where Are You Christmas?”
Gernhard says both of the productions “are very interesting movies, for very different reasons. I think people will be excited about them because both are so different and yet we’re in the same area.”
Synthetic is shooting at some different locales in the region than before.
“The thing with Connecticut, we have amazing locations. We are using a lot of original locations in this movie that I think will be big,” Gernhard says.
The state is a wonderful place to film, he says.
“Connecticut is gorgeous. Everywhere you point the camera, you get a great image,” he says.
He adds that he thinks Connecticut people will be particularly excited about one of the movies.
Filming of the second film is expected to wrap by late May/early June.
While there hasn’t been much if any snow here this winter, Synthetic can augment that in post-production. Shooting at this time of year — as opposed to the warmer months, which Synthetic has before — means the performers actually feel a little chilly, as opposed to having to pretend.
Another advantage of filming now is that it’s before the busy summer kicks in in the region. It also provides a little boost for the local economy before the tourists flock in, Gernhard notes.
Hallmark cinematic universe
The production of original Christmas TV movies is a booming industry. Gernhard says that last year brought 190 films; this year, there will be around 240 from companies including Hallmark, Lifetime and Netflix.
Gernhard says the audience for these films is insatiable. He notes, too, that while there are still the comfortable, fun and happy ones, there are stylistically more now, ranging from slapstick comedies to horror flicks. He compares it to its own little Marvel Cinematic Universe.
“Hallmark movies are as popular as the MCU. We get so many spectators plus tons of social media response/support and big ratings. Additionally, some Hallmark movies are now featuring multiple Hallmark actors — not characters, but actors — kinda like how Marvel has the characters connected in all the movies. HCU / Hallmark Cinematic Universe,” he says.
Gernhard says that Synthetic has “some international ones (movies) we will be doing, but I’m starting an additional crew so we can keep things running in Connecticut if I’m not available. I want to bring business to Connecticut; Connecticut is doing pretty well, and I want to keep that business coming.”
As for those international films Synthetic, Gernhard says, “They’re in countries I think are very interesting and not usually thought of for movies. I like movies that are a challenge.”
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