It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. In Ottawa. In July.
Or at least that’s the case on the set of “Christmas On Wheels”, a new Hallmark Channel holiday movie that is the first TV production to resume in Canada since the the COVID-19 pandemic shut down filming of TV series and films.
U.S.-based director Marita Grabiak told The Hollywood Reporter that she and her crew were in the midst of shooting a different Hallmark holiday film in Hollywood North back in March when all TV and film production was halted.
“It was a fairly sad day on March 16 when I was last here, and after (Prime Minister Justin) Trudeau gave his speech that led to shutting down our production,” she said.
When Canadian productions were given the go-ahead, Grabiak eagerly took the job shooting “Christmas on Wheels”, which is currently in production in Ottawa, with a scheduled wrap date of July 24.
Naturally, a pandemic production involves an array of safety and social-distancing protocols that are brand-new for everyone, including dedicated “pods” for actors and other measures.
“I have noticed that within a few days we fell into a routine that felt comfortable, if not seamless,” Grabiak told THR. “Given a strong and adaptable crew, as I have here in Ottawa, in combination with actors who know what their intentions are when they walk onto set, because of our advance rehearsals, we simply have been working quite well under these conditions.”
Meanwhile, photos from the set were shared on social media.
It was snowing in Ottawa yesterday…Well, at least on the set of Lifetime's CHRISTMAS ON WHEELS, starring Tiya Sircar and Michael Xavier. Actor Randy Thomas shared this quick clip of them dressing the set with bubble snow.
— Ho! Ho! Holiday Viewing! (@SleepyKittyPaw) July 16, 2020