HUDSON -- When the character for “Christmas Wish” first arrives in town, she pauses in excitement to take a moment and soak in the beauty and charm of her surroundings.
Hudsonites will know the feeling well. The city served as the backdrop for several of the movie’s scenes, with crews filming in Hudson over the last few months.
“I’ve always said that we have always been a perfect Hallmark community,” Chamber President Mary Claire Olson Potter said.
When production was looking for a small town in the area, production member Paul Winkles, who used to work in town, suggested Hudson.
“He knew the people, the community, and he felt like it was a really cute town,” Director Elizabeth Snoderly said. “And he laughed and he said, you know, even the people who live there say we don’t know why we haven’t become a hallmark or a movie town because it’s such a perfect place for a Christmas movie.”
The city’s old fire station was a big draw, as one of the main characters is a firefighter. Finding an empty station where they could actually film wasn’t easy to do, Snoderly said, but Hudson had it.
“It was almost like meant to be,” she said.
In fact, they liked it so much, they decided to film a second movie town as well — “Christmas Lovers Anonymous.”
The chamber has had an active role working with production. Potter helped suggest locations to fit the needs of the films.
The productions filmed at the both the old and new fire station, at Lakefront Park, The Phipps Bed and Breakfast, La Rue Marche, Chapter 2 Books and homes in town.
“It’s fun that they’re really utilizing all of the wonderful assets Hudson has,” Potter said.
The productions came to Hudson twice. First, in December for indoor shots, and then returned again when there was finally snow on the ground in January and February. The city and businesses kept their lights up to continue the holiday spirit for filming.
“Christmas Wish” follows computer designer Lori who feels underappreciated and overworked. After quitting her job, she sees widowed father Patrick on a cooking show and is instantly charmed. With a push from her sister, she travels to his town to meet him, only to find she’s not the only single woman with the same idea.
“Christmas Lovers Anonymous,” directed by Lexi Giovagnoli, follows a woman whose dedication to Christmas makes her lose her job and her boyfriend. In a moment of anger, she writes a rant against doing anything for the holidays, which goes on to be widely published and reviewed. Now while trying to keep up the front for interviews and press, she indulges her love on an anonymous Christmas lovers site. As she becomes closer with a fellow Christmas fan, she encounters a reporter determined to expose her.
The production will be great marketing for Hudson and all of the businesses.
“For a long time we are going to be able to say, ‘Come to Hudson, where “Christmas Wish” was filmed,’” Potter said.
The films will be pitched to companies like Hallmark or Lifetime. Premiere dates aren't settled yet, Snorderly said, but “Christmas Wish” is planned to premiere this year and “Christmas Lovers Anonymous” is likely coming next year.
When they do show, Snoderly said they would love to do a premiere in Hudson.
The chamber will continue to work to maximize the opportunity, Potter said.
“We have a wonderful community to showcase,” she said.
The crew and cast have been wonderful to work with, Potter said.
COVID-19 precautions were in place and followed closely. This limited the number of community members that could be involved, but it was still a group effort.
The community came together on the project, Potter said. Residents opened their homes, business owners offered up their stores, city departments including fire, police and public works worked to support the filming and community members served as extras in the film.
“I think people should feel good that this was really a community project and everyone worked together to make it happen,” Potter said.
The town was wonderful to work with, Snoderly said.
“They were like a dream community to work with,” she said.
It’s an experience she’s shared with a writer on another project. She said she would be happy to work with the community again.