Home Production company Production company CT turns Hartford into Harlem for new Hallmark movie

Production company CT turns Hartford into Harlem for new Hallmark movie

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The list of films that have brought their sets to Connecticut over the past six months has also brought with them actors like Justin hartley, Eddie Redmayne, Jessica Chastain and Maria menounos. While each movie’s cast varied as much as the network or streaming service it was created for, there’s a good chance a Connecticut production company helped bring them to life.

This is the case of “Christmas in Harlem», The latest Hallmark Christmas film shot in Hartford in production with Rocky Hill International Synthesis Cinema. The film and production company worked on projects like “Christmas diary”,“ Sand Dollar Cove ”,“ Call Jane ”and“ Taking the Reins ”, all of which were filmed at least in part in Connecticut for Netflix and Hallmark.

Flagship movie “Christmas in Harlem” shot in parts of Hartford, Connecticut on the weekend of September 18-19, 2021.

Scoops & Sprinkles / Photo Contribution

Brand movie "Christmas in Harlem" filmed in parts of Hartford, Connecticut on the weekend of September 18-19, 2021.

Flagship movie “Christmas in Harlem” shot in parts of Hartford, Connecticut on the weekend of September 18-19, 2021.

Scoops & Sprinkles / Photo Contribution

For producer and owner Andrew Gernhard, turning his home country into other locations for a movie is simple. For “Christmas in Harlem” – a name he says will likely change before its release – it was about finding similarities between the two places.

“We shot pretty much everything in the Hartford area,” he said. “We obviously looked at a lot of research and were able to find little bits of sections of Hartford and East Hartford that correspond to Harlem, and we recreated it all in Connecticut.”

Shooting the Hallmark Christmas movies in the summer adds an extra layer of cinematic magic needed to produce wintry effects in unusual weather.

“What we’re doing is we’re going to shoot a wide shot of a store, and we’ll put fake snow in it and our actors will interact there, but we’ll shoot really wide and then digitally chop down the tree. or we’ll add snow to the roof, “he said.” It’s just a matter of choosing your shots and knowing how to frame them and how to use the infographic to make it look like it’s there. ‘winter. “

Brand movie "Christmas in Harlem" filmed in parts of Hartford, Connecticut on the weekend of September 18-19, 2021. Rocky Hill, Connecticut-based ice cream shop Scoops & Sprinkles used their ice cream as a prop in the film.

Flagship movie “Christmas in Harlem” shot in parts of Hartford, Connecticut on the weekend of September 18-19, 2021. Rocky Hill, Connecticut-based ice cream shop Scoops & Sprinkles used their ice cream as a prop in the movie .

Scoops & Sprinkles / Photo Contribution

According to Gernhard, it is possible to “shoot anything in Connecticut except a tropical island.” Even some of the most drastic locations can be recreated with some creativity in location and filming.

“We even made a desert here,” he said. “We were supposed to do a zombie movie in 2011, I believe, and the zombies came out of a desert, and we actually shot it in one of the mineral deposits. [in Clinton]… We just tilted the camera over the sand and the rocks and the zombies came out of it and it looks like the deserts of Nevada.

Gernhard’s Synthetic Cinema International has shot films statewide, from Hartford to New Haven, from Old Saybrook to Stonington. Gernhard estimates that they typically work on three to five films each year, but 2021 has 21 projects in Synthetic Cinema’s lineup, which he attributes to a demand for entertainment.

“I feel like it’s a question of timing and reputation,” he said. “It’s funny: Years and years ago, when I first heard that people were watching TV shows and movies on their phones, I was like, ‘No way’. I was most wrong about it… That’s what it is, there’s just an explosion of content.

With a lot of that “content explosion”Using Connecticut as a backdrop, Gernhard can think of two potential reasons why film projects are drawn to Connecticut.

Co-owner of Scoops & Sprinkles ice cream shop in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Shane Aforismo poses next to a street sign for the movie Hallmark,

Rocky Hill, Connecticut-based ice cream shop Scoops & Sprinkles co-owner Shane Aforismo poses next to a street sign for the Hallmark movie, “Christmas in Harlem.” Aforismo’s ice cream cart was used as a prop in the movie, and he and his wife Kim served as ice cream cart vendors in the movie.

Scoops & Sprinkles / Photo Contribution

Co-owner of Scoops & Sprinkles ice cream shop based in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Shane Aforismo poses in front of his ice cream cart used for the movie Hallmark,

Co-owner of Scoops & Sprinkles ice cream shop, based in Rocky Hill, Connecticut, Shane Aforismo poses in front of his ice cream cart used for the Hallmark movie, “Christmas in Harlem.” Aforismo’s ice cream cart was used as a prop in the movie, and he and his wife Kim served as ice cream cart vendors in the movie.

Scoops & Sprinkles / Photo Contribution

“The number one reason is the tax credit – the networks love the tax creditThe second reason is the locations. We have a movie premiering this Saturday called ‘Taking the Reins’, it’s an equestrian movie for Hallmark – it stars Nikki DeLoach and Scott Porter – which we shot in Marlborough Connecticut at Meadowbrook Farm… and they just did it live [stream] on Facebook with the two stars, and they got rave reviews from Connecticut. “

“Celebs love being in Connecticut because it’s almost like a vacation, especially if they’re not from New England.”

Gernhard believes that this latest series of films shot in the state won’t end anytime soon.

“There are bigger projects coming up this year that are going to be pretty amazing that we’re going to start helping and that are going to be pretty fun for Connecticut,” he said. “I just think Connecticut looks great on camera.”



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