Much excitement has been generated over the filming, in and around Knowlton, of Christmas Ever After. Little did we realize that Theatre Lac-Brome’s very own artistic director, Ellen David, would be performing the role of Kim Simmons, the mother of the main character, Izzi Simmons, played by Ali Stroker. David is an experienced actress and, with the constraints of COVID-19 and the change of venue for the filming, it was a lucky break for all concerned that she was available to perform the role in Knowlton. Her segment of the film took place in front of the Knowlton Golf Club’s clubhouse where she and her husband, played by Larry Day, are talking on Facetime with their daughter.
Several other Knowlton residents were extras during the filming at the bakery, set up in Star Café. They were asked to bring a selection of their own costumes for winter scenes and waited under the bookshop at the old Cedric’s location for their moment of fame. All extras were paid for a minimum of five hours and were provided with meals by an excellent catering service behind the Lakeview.
Vivien Grenier, a local extra, was seated at a table in the bakery decorating Christmas cookies and she had to get up, push in her chair and let Izzi Simmons pass by in her wheelchair. This involved a couple of takes as there was insufficient room for the main character to pass. Other extras were Mélanie Trottechaude (owner of La Cyclerie) and her children: Angéline, Céleste and Ludovik Joseph. They were all part of the cookie decorating scene at the bakery.
All actors had to wear face shields and masks and there was a COVID LADY who was in charge of masks, disinfecting, etc. Masks had to be changed every four hours. Filming also took place at Brome Lake Books and Lucy Hoblyn was most impressed by the film crew that went beyond the call of duty to replace books and furniture exactly as they found it. Because they were filming most of the night, the upstairs tenants were asked to vacate their homes for two nights to avoid disturbance. Wayne Tryhorn, Abigail Allen and their three boys of 5, 7 and 10 were housed at Hôtel Suites Lac-Brome as well as another tenant.
The Lakeview Inn was taken over for the duration of the filming and le Jolivent and other locations were used to house the cast and crew. Downtown Knowlton became a Christmas street market and there truly was snow in August, much to the consternation of tourists and passers by.
The film Christmas Ever After, directed by Pat Kiely and produced by Robert Vroom, will air on Lifetime channel during the Christmas period. This production has proven to be a boon to the local economy and certainly added a touch of excitement during the pandemic.