DAHLONEGA — Hallmark Channel’s movie Christmas in Homestead would have you believe that Homestead is in Iowa, but in order to find a cozy, pristine, welcoming Christmas venue the producers found what they were looking for in Dahlonega, and the Baptist Collegiate Center at the University of North Georgia was determined to be the perfect location for the filming of their production.
The movie is all about one of the most famous actresses in the world who heads to the Christmas-obsessed town of Homestead to shoot a holiday-themed movie. She is surprised when a romance brews between her and Matt, the single dad and innkeeper of the Homestead Lodge. She gets a taste of small-town life and discovers the true meaning of Christmas.
Ken Jones, the Baptist Collegiate Minister at UNG, stated, “All except the introduction of the movie was filmed in Dahlonega, with much of the movie filmed at The Baptist Collegiate Ministry Center, which served as the main setting, The Homestead Lodge.
“The beautiful building was transformed into a wonderful lodge decorated for Christmas inside and out. Each downstairs room in the center was transformed into settings such as the reception area, the little girl’s bedroom, and the dining room.”
Crazy and chaotic
Jones admitted, “For three weeks the BCM Center was a bit crazy or more like chaotic with it being the primary location [for the movie]. There were great opportunities though to build relationships with people we would have never have had the chance to meet.
“The BCM staff, Keith Wade, Katie Cargle, and I along with many of the BCM students were able to build relationships with the movie’s crew and cast,” explained Jones. “Every opportunity afforded was taken to share the true meaning of Christmas.”
Ken was able to get very close to the director/producer of the film, Isaiah Laborde. They had many opportunities to talk and pray together. This was Laborde’s eighteenth movie and while in Dahlonega he indicated that he hopes to produce a faith-based move in 2017 – something along the lines of God’s Not Dead.
Getting screen time
Staff and students of the North Georgia BCM can be seen throughout the movie as extras. Katie Cargle, administrative assistant and part time campus minister, is very prominent in the end of the film. Janet Jones, wife of the BCM director (who has served as chairman of the Board of Directors of The Christian Index), got in on the action. She is in a few scenes bringing refreshments to the movie crew.
Jones added, “The whole experience of having a movie filmed on the site of the center was exciting for all of us. Students loved it, staff enjoyed helping, and a very positive witness was presented as the North Georgia BCM hosted the cast, crew, and extras.”
The Hallmark Channel is known for producing family-oriented films. In fact, the corporation has published a document stating their “Beliefs and Values.” Among their stated values they proclaim: “We believe that our products and services must enrich people’s lives. We value and are committed to excellence in all we do [and to] high standards of ethics and integrity.”
Hallmark’s beliefs and values may differ from that of a Christian organization, but their “G” rated movies are family-friendly and parents can generally watch them with their children without fear of them being negatively impacted.
Where and when to watch
The storyline in the Christmas dramas presented on the Hallmark Channel are generally predictable, but the acting is always good and the sets and scenery are appealing.
The actors in Christmas in Homestead are accomplished thespians. Taylor Cole plays the part of the famous actress. She has had regular roles in several television series and has a long list of TV appearances. She has also appeared in a number of feature films including The Green Hornet and won the Gold Award as Best Actress in a leading role at the International Film Awards.
Michael Rady starred on the CBS drama Intelligence with Josh Holloway. Additional film roles include The Guardian with Kevin Costner and J. Edgar directed by Clint Eastwood.
Christmas in Homestead may be seen on the Hallmark Channel at the following times (Eastern Time) Wednesday, Nov. 30 (10 PM), Sunday, Dec. 4 (4 PM), Friday, Dec. 9 (8 PM), Monday, Dec. 12 (2 PM), Saturday, Dec. 17 (6 PM), and Friday, Dec. 23 (10 PM).
Christmas in Homestead may very well help you have a merry Christmas.