Hallmark Movie: Who Is Behind The Location?

A film set is mysterious and exciting to many people; it’s a unique experience to see our own town transformed into a fictitious town in a Hallmark world. The town chatter of who is in the film and where will they be filming begins to buzz around the coffee shops and local offices.  Even a few locals were spotted in the previous Hallmark film, which always draws a smile to the local viewer. “Oh look, it’s Dianne!”

For most of us, we see films on the cinema screen; we relax while the story takes us away. Perhaps you prefer the romantic comedies of Matthew McConaughey as he quests for the woman of his dreams; or a black and white classic with the stoic, Robert Mitchum or maybe you like the chills and thrills of a Stephen King novel come to life, or the war going on amongst the stars and a galaxy far, far away.

All of those scenes had to be filmed somewhere. That’s where the location manager comes in.

Christina Ollson is the locations manager for the film Frozen in Love, one of the many romantic flicks being shot for the Hallmark Channel.  Ollson works for Lighthouse Pictures an off shoot of Bright Light Pictures based in Burnaby.

Ollson started as a production assistant, a position many film crew members get their start. She found work as an Assistant Location Manager for a few years, and then moved into the main title of Location Manager. Ollson is the first one to arrive on set, and the last one to leave.  She is responsible for landing trucks, opening up the location, responsible for the production assistants, lunch locations, security and public relations to give a short list.

When asked how they found Revelstoke as a location, Ollson told the Revelstoke Current that one of the past Executive Producers of Marry Me at Christmas requested to bring the next production back to Revelstoke.

“For this particular movie, Revelstoke was chosen because there were elements that worked  in particular for this movie…In hopes that there would be snow, and that we would be able to film an exterior ice rink, which is something we would not be able to film in Vancouver… there were a bunch of elements that brought us here.”

When Ollson gets a script, she gets her chance to use her creativity, by reading a scene and envisioning where it could be shot. She has an extensive database of places she is filmed before; she might even hire a scout to do some more recon on a particular place to see if it fits the cinematic bill.  She will present three or four locations to the Director, Producer and First-Assistant Director, then they will go to each location and decide how it can all work logistically.

She recently shot in the Brittania Mines near Squamish for the 7th installment of the Aurora Tea Garden series starring Candace Cameron- Bure; which was one location she was quite proud to have located.

“It was one of the ideas that came up in our meeting, Brittania Mines came up and it was stunning to film in.”  Ollson explained with passion.

As far as filming in Revelstoke, the production company have been very happy with the efforts from the city. According to Ollson, everyone on city staff have been very accommodating and that will most likely be a reason for future productions.

The film will be wrapping up by this weekend and part of the spirit of the holidays and to be a part of the community in some fashion, the production has made charitable donations to the Women’s Shelter, Avalanche Association and the Revelstoke Outreach Program.

So the next time you are watching a flick on the television, take a moment to recognize where it is being filmed, someone took a lot of time and passion to find that perfect location.