‘Christmas Card’ screenwriter visits Nevada City | TheUnion.com

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‘Christmas Card’ screenwriter visits Nevada City

Screenwriter Joany Kane had never even heard of Nevada City when she wrote the screenplay for the hit Hallmark Channel movie, “The Christmas Card.”

But when she saw the picturesque setting in the finished product, Nevada City became her muse.

Kane rolled into town for the first time Tuesday afternoon and driving down Broad Street was like stepping into the movie, she said.

Today is “Joany Kane Day,” according to a proclamation Nevada City Council members made last week, and a banquet in Kane’s honor is scheduled for 6 p.m. tonight at the National Hotel.

Kane will talk about the story behind the film – which was partly inspired by her own Hallmark-worthy romance.

Tables are still available; tickets are $25 including tax and tip, and can be reserved by calling the hotel at (530) 265-4551.

Kane, who lives in Massachusetts, completed the screenplay in one week in 1999 – and set the story in a mill town in Vermont.

But budget constraints meant the crew needed to set the film closer to Hollywood. One of the producers, Lincoln Lageson, knew about Nevada City because his parents grew up in the town.

“It was a match made in heaven,” Kane said. “The city really is a character in the movie.”

Kane had wanted to visit since she first saw the movie, but her plans didn’t work out until now. Local business and restaurant owners pitched in to fund Kane’s four-day trip, which includes tours of locations from the film:

• Nevada City United Methodist Church on Broad Street, where character Faith Spelman attends church

• Nevada City Classic Cafe, where Faith meets her love interest, Afghanistan War veteran Cody Cullen

• Citronee restaurant, where a dinner scene was filmed

• South Yuba River, where Cody and Faith visit the Vietnam War memorial

“The Christmas Card” premiere on Dec. 2, 2006, was Hallmark Channel’s highest-rated telecast ever, with more than 3.1 million households watching.

The film aired six times in the 2009 Christmas season, and the Nevada City Chamber of Commerce sees a spike in Web site traffic with each screening.

“That movie had a tremendous positive economic impact on the city,” said former mayor Steve Cottrell, who is organizing the event honoring Kane. He estimates the film brought tens of thousands of dollars to local businesses – and he hands Kane the credit.

“Without the story and without the script, that movie would never have happened,” Cottrell added.

Since “The Christmas Card” was produced, Kane has written numerous other screenplays – and more than one have been set in Nevada City, she said.

To contact Staff Writer Michelle Rindels, e-mail mrindels@theunion.com or call (530) 477-4247.