As Hallmark’s beloved comes to an end, the spirit of the holidays lives on. The final film in this year’s Countdown to Christmas lineup, Friends and Family Christmas brings the magic of New York City to life without ever leaving Canada.
Directed by Anne Wheeler from a script of Gary Goldstein and Tracy Andreen, this groundbreaking Hallmark movie features the channel’s first female couple in lead roles, Ali Liebert and Humberly Gonzalez. (Liebert identifies as queer, already)
The holiday romance movie follows an aspiring artist named Dani and a hard driven lawyer named Amelia, the duo plans to fake a relationship for the holidays. With each date, they grew much closer and Dani realize that she has real feelings for Amelia.
Where was Friends and Family filmed?
Friends and Family Christmas was filmed entirely in Langley, British Columbia, Canada. Principal photography took place over September and October 2023 on the studio backlot “Martini Town,” a picturesque replica of a Manhattan neighborhood.
Inside this wintry wonderland, the team filmed both interior and exterior scenes all over the lot. From cozy coffee shop moments to stolen kisses under street lamps, Martini Town offered endless shooting possibilities.
In true Hallmark fashion, production for Friends and Family Christmas took place simultaneously alongside another holiday film titled Sealed with a List. Thanks to the versatile design of the studio backlot, both crews enjoyed seamless filming schedules.
Behind the Scenes
Production crew made excellent use of the versatile studio space, shooting interior and exterior scenes all over the lot.
The best part? Martini Town is actually open to visitors from December 1st, 2023, to January 1st, 2024! So if you’re a fan of Hallmark movies, you could have walked the same streets as your favorite characters.
And on December 2nd, the studio even held a special “Hallmark Fan Day” with tours and panel discussions with Hallmark actors and crew. It was the perfect way to celebrate the holidays and get a behind-the-scenes look at your favorite movies.
So even though Hallmark’s Countdown to Christmas is over, “Friends & Family Christmas” is a heartwarming reminder that the holidays are still going strong.
And with its charming setting and heartwarming story, this movie is sure to become a new Christmas classic.
Cast of Friends and Family Christmas
Humberly Gonzalez as Dani
Humberly Gonzalez is a familiar face to holiday movie viewers, having starred in several movies, including Lifetime’s “Maps and Mistletoe” and Hallmark’s “A Tail of Love.” She’s also known for her roles in shows like “Ginny & Georgia,” “In the Dark,” and “Utopia Falls.”
Ali Liebert as Amelia
Ali Liebert is another Hallmark regular, who has over 100 credits in movies like “The Holiday Sitter” and “Three Wise Men and a Baby.” Liebert is also known as a director. She has directed two Hallmark films this year, Christmas in Notting Hill and Time for her to come home for Christmas, you’ve seen all of them by now.
Jeremy Hoffman also stars as Tanner in the movie.
What is the plot of Friends and Family Christmas?
Big city artist Dani loves her paint brushes more than mistletoe! This Christmas, she’s trading family traditions for fancy art fundraisers with her quirky friends. But bam! Surprise visit from “Christmas-crazy” parents who yearn for gingerbread houses and ugly sweaters.
Yuck! To escape the awkward, Dani hatches a plan: fake a romance with Amelia, a lawyer as stiff as a fruitcake. Hilarious hijinks ensue as they pretend to be lovebirds, dodging mistletoe and hiding paint-splattered aprons from Amelia’s fancy friends.
But oops, the pretend feelings start getting real! Just when things get super sparkly, Dani’s dream art gig lands in her lap. Talk about a curveball! She ghosts Amelia, leaving hearts frozen like icicles.
Can Dani face her mistake with a bigger-than-a-snowman gesture and prove love is more important than any paintbrush? Get ready for a heartwarming finale with enough twinkle lights to make Rudolph jealous!
Where to watch Friends and Family Christmas?
Friends and Family Christmas premieres on Dec 17, 2023 only on Hallmark Channel inside the United States and on W Network inside Canada. In addition, the movie will become available for streaming upto 72 hours after the premiere.
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