Maple Creek’s downtown core and the Historic Reesor Ranch are to be showcased in a Christmas romance movie.
A Cowboy Christmas is being produced by Trilight Entertainment, a media production company with offices in Calgary and Toronto.
Film-makers are expected to be in Jasper Street for two days over the Saturday, March 18, weekend before going to the ranch. Their hope is to recreate Christmas for the cameras.
On Monday, producer Shayne Putzlocher told the News-Times that filming will take place over two weeks.
The aim is to have a TV movie released before Christmas 2023 for an international market.
“It will be fastest made movie in the history of the world,” he laughed, adding: “We need to do it quickly, because we are worried about snow melting. What’s it like there today? Is there snow on the ground?”
Putzlocher said the film will be a holiday romance; the script has been written by Heather Wright, a freelance writer, screenwriter and workshop leader.
“We have a few names for the actors, but we are still casting,” he said.
Why was Maple Creek chosen as a film location?
Putzlocher said he hails originally from Regina and wanted to do a movie based in Saskatchewan.
“I’m familiar with Maple Creek,” he said. “Last week we came to the town to do some scouting.”
Among those he spoke to were Barry Elliott, the Town’s chief administrative officer, his wife, Carmen Drapeau, Tina Cresswell, Town Councillor and owner of The Daily Grind, and Theresa (Drapeau) Reesor from the Historic Reesor Ranch.
Putzlocher said Maple Creek and the ranch were a good fit for Wright’s script, which included riding horses.
“You have a beautiful Main Street there, which would be perfect for us.”
At last Wednesday’s Town Council meeting, Cresswell revealed news about the movie while speaking during Mayor and Councillors Forum.
Two weeks ago, she said, she had received an interesting call from Theresa Reesor.
“Theresa said ‘Tina, I have some people here. These people want to come in and see you’. She said they are making a movie.”
Councillor Cresswell said she met the film makers, who wanted to see if Maple Creek was suitable for their needs.
“They came into town. They are indeed making a movie. It might be called A Cowboy Christmas. It’s like a Hallmark movie, but it’s a different production company. The production company was involved in Corner Gas and is adamant that this movie will take place in Saskatchewan. The producer wants to use Maple Creek, Saskatchewan, as the name of the town.”
Councillor Cresswell said the movie was going to be set in Christmas.
“So, we are going to have to do some Christmas decorating. We are going to have to really get to it. They want to use as many people from the town as possible to populate their shots. They want to have a Christmas festival.”
She added that filming would focus on the downtown core, using store front and office scenes.
“It’s going to be very exciting for a couple of weeks,” she said.
Councillor Leah Baratta expressed excitement about the plans.
“I hope people tell their children about it,” she said. “I’m so excited hearing this. When I tell my children there’s going to be a movie filmed here, they are going to go wild. It’s a big deal.”
Barry Elliott, the Town’s CAO, said he and his wife, Carmen, had the pleasure of having dinner the previous night with Putzlocher, the producer from Twilight Entertainment.
He said the film company had done a great number of movies, with a huge audience in Europe, primarily Germany.
“It’s an international audience that they have,” he said.
Elliott said Twilight Entertainment wanted to film in the 100 block of Jasper Street.
“They are looking for the whole town, as many people as possible to be involved. Not as actors as such, but at least visible on the screen. That’s going to be very exciting. They have asked that 100 block of Jasper be decorated to the nines.”
Michelle McKenzie, the Mayor, said she was very excited about the prospect of a film featuring the community.
“What a great opportunity to showcase Maple Creek.”
Speaking to the News-Times on Tuesday, Cresswell said she hoped more film-makers would see the potential of Maple Creek and the surrounding area as a setting for movies.
The region had so much to offer, she said. Not just Maple Creek itself, but the Cypress Hills Interprovincial park and Grasslands National Park.
According to its website, Trilight has successfully produced a number of feature films that went on to sell in multiple territories. The company says it continues to develop and produce the family film genre and internationally recognizable content.
The company’s list of movie credits includes The Doorman, Girl, Cagefighter, Treasure Hounds, Welcome to Nowhere, The Adventure Club, A.R.C.H.I.E, Bark Ranger, Step Dogs, Space Milkshake, and Vampire Dog.
In 2021, Trilight was involved in a Christmas movie filmed in and around Prince George. A Great North Christmas was a romance revolving around a single woman whose big-city friends arrange a trip for her to a small town for a Christmas in which she meets someone and falls in love. The romance movie formula has been used in dozens of TV movies and has proved popular with viewers on Netflix and the cable Hallmark Channel.
On her Linked In page, Wright, from Kitchener, Ontario, says that recently her screenplay, A Cowboy Christmas, was optioned by Princ Films.
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