They didn’t appear on-screen, but a big part of Linda Hovdebo and Carolyn Fletcher was there for Hallmark fanatics around the globe to see Saturday, Nov. 20.
The Vernon women own and operate The Roxy Cafe on 31st Street in downtown Vernon, just north of Nolan’s Drugs. Their cozy cafe was the perfect setting for a number of scenes in the Hallmark movie A Christmas Together With You. The movie was shot in the blazing Vernon heat in the summer of 2021 and made its debut Saturday.
Without giving too much away (you know, in case you recorded the flick to watch at a later date), A Christmas Together With You follows the journey of cafe owner Megan (Laura Vandervoort) and longtime customer Frank (Harry Lennix), a recent widower. They set out on a road trip to find Frank’s first true love, a woman named Claire.
“Heath (Carolyn’s husband) recorded it so the three of us watched it, and I know other friends who said, ‘Oh yeah, we’re recording it so we can watch it at a later time,’” said Hovdebo. “It’s pretty fun to see your own cafe full-on, inside and out. And just all the other places in town, it was really fun.”
— Lauren DuBois (@l_dubois613) November 20, 2021
Scenes for the movie were also shot at restaurants such as The Phoenix and The Eclectic Med. Spirit Lodge at SilverStar Mountain Resort was used as a home.
“It’s a Hallmark movie for sure,” laughed Hovdebo. “At one point we’re watching and we said, ‘She’s sweeping the floor with our broom.’ And ‘Oh, there’s Carolyn’s croissant in the corner.’ All the little details, it was a lot of fun. And to see the Med, the Phoenix, all the different buildings, it was fun to point out all of those things.”
"A Christmas Together with You", starring Harry Lennix, Laura Vandervoort & Niall Matter, premieres TONIGHT on @HallmarkChannel at 8pm/7c, part of #CountdownToChristmas! https://t.co/3MkoNW0fPV 🎄 #StayMerry #AChristmasTogetherWithYou @niallmatter pic.twitter.com/n44oMhazT9
— Lolly Christmas🎄 (@LollyChristmas) November 20, 2021
Hovdebo and Fletcher had only had their business in the old renovated Roxy Bakery open for a couple of months when a man walked in and identified himself, Hovdebo recalls, as Shane, a location manager.
He said they were filming a Hallmark movie in Vernon and he liked the look of the cafe. A few other places were being considered as well. The 29oo block of 30th Avenue was also cordoned off to accommodate filming.
Shane brought back the director and some other production members to The Roxy Cafe a few days later. They looked around, liked what they saw and offered a contract a week later to the Vernon women who jumped at the opportunity.
Filming was done during the heat dome at the end of June that saw record North Okanagan temperatures in the high 40s for a Christmas movie.
“There were also wildfires, so it was hot and super smoky,” said Hovdebo. “They definitely made it wintery. “When they’re walking down the street and you see the (Vernon Jubilee) hospital in the background, they’re walking straight into the orange glow. But you don’t see that.”
While Hovdebo and Fletcher did not appear in the movie themselves, locals such as Vernon Vipers assistant Colton Boomer and Angela Niederlich did not end up on the cutting room floor, and posted (or had family members post) their appearances in the flick to their social media pages.
Niederlich, a Vernon resident since 1995, happened to be at her home doing some sewing in the summer when she went outside for a break. That’s where she saw a crew filming the movie on her street.
“I went over to a guy and asked what’s going on, he told me about the movie. I asked him if they need anymore extras, he said yes and introduced me to another guy,” said Niederlich. The ‘guy’ she spoke to on her street was the movie’s producer, Gilles Laplante.
Niederlich went to Salmon Arm Saturday for a viewing party with her three kids, two grandchildren, her brother, two sisters and her 87-year-old mother who lives in the Shuswap.
“To say the least it was very exciting,” said Niederlich, who has never appeared in a movie before. “We all screamed and laughed.”
She did come away from the film with an autograph from actor Harry Lennix.