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It’s showtime in Nevada City

Soumitro Sen

It is Christmas time again in Nevada City. Or at least it is in the streets where the crew of “The Christmas Card” is filming scenes this week.

Holly leaves and red flags bearing the words “Awaken the Child within us all,” are latched onto the quaint street lamps and some shop windows decked for the season.

With the maroon facade of “Shaw’s Antiques & Dry Goods” on Commercial Street adorned with Christmas decorations on Tuesday afternoon, the festive feeling was right back in mid-February.

“It’s going great,” said Lincoln Lageson, co-producer of the movie. “We were blessed with a surprise snowstorm over the weekend that helped us a great deal. And everything’s been going great and according to plan.”

The filming, which started on Saturday, is expected to continue until about March 14. It will air on Hallmark Channel as the movie of the week this Christmas.

Various businesses and facilities in town are involved in the shooting. The Nevada City United Methodist Church is one of them.

Anne Holst, ministry programs coordinator at the church, was busy Tuesday morning embellishing the sanctuary with Christmas decorations. The movie will be filmed for three consecutive days in the church and involve as many as 50 extras who’ve been chosen from the regular congregation.

“We’ll be dressing for Christmas (on one of the days) because they’ll be filming a Christmas Eve service,” Holst said. On the two other days, the extras will be dressed in “normal church apparel.”

Holst sounded excited about the shooting.

“I keep joking about it, that when I was hired I didn’t realize I should be in the movie business,” she said, laughing. “It’s very busy around here. We’re preparing for it.”

The Nevada City City Hall is going to be a venue for a scene set in a doctor’s clinic.

“If they are shooting upstairs, that’s not going to be a problem,” said Mark Miller, Nevada City city manager. “It’s a conference room that’s only used occasionally. I think they’re going to have some interaction there. But if they want to use the lobby, we’ll have to have a deposit desk out for (people who came to pay their) water and sewer bills.”

For Citronee Bistro and Wine Bar, where a restaurant scene is scheduled to be shot, the shooting will not be an imposition at all since the restaurant is usually closed the days the scene is scheduled to be shot.

“We’re just making our dining room available, and they’re going to arrange their scene and do the shooting,” said Robert Perez, owner of the bistro.

Perez feels the movie can boost the businesses in town, especially as the city’s name will appear on the credits.

Thomas Coleman, owner of the National Hotel for 27 years, is more ambivalent about his hotel being the venue of shootings on two days.

“Basically, we’re going to give them access to areas they need, which is the bar, the restaurant, the verandah and the lobby,” he said. “Normal businesses will have to be stalled in some cases. Dinners won’t be affected. They’re going to shoot early in the morning.”

“I welcome it,” he added. “It doesn’t bother me as a positive or negative. It’s part of doing business. Different things happen at different times.”

The movie’s cast includes Ed Asner, John Newton, Alice Evans, Lois Nettleton and Peter Jason. The scene being shot on Commercial Street on Tuesday afternoon involved Asner and Newton.

In the scene, Asner’s character, the father of the heroine, is trying to convince the male lead, played by Newton, to follow his heart and express his feelings to his daughter, played by Alice Evans.

The filming was taking place on the steps of the Mackey Real Estate.

As the director repeated the same shot incessantly – each time, inching toward perfection – Lageson seemed pleased with the film-making and the assitance he was receiving from people of the town he chose as the venue of the film.

“Kathy Whittlesee from the Chamber of Commerce was very instrumental in getting us in contact with the local merchants and everybody has cooperated,” Lageson said on Tuesday afternoon. “They are very important part of the whole process for us. We appreciate all the help and support from the folks in the area and the businesses.”


To contact staff writer Soumitro Sen, e-mail soumitros@theunion.com or call 4774229.

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