Christmas comes early in Winnipeg with film shoot


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Sunny with a humidex of 37 C in Winnipeg, but people were walking down Stafford Street in winter parkas, tuques and scarves.

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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 19/08/2020 (777 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.

Sunny with a humidex of 37 C in Winnipeg, but people were walking down Stafford Street in winter parkas, tuques and scarves.

Cameras and crew were on scene for the first day of filming for Mission: Christmas, a movie which will air on network television.

The building on set was decked out with holiday spirit. The hot sun beamed down on Christmas trees, bows, wreaths and fake snow. However, the executive producer in Toronto said it would be easier to film in the fall or with real snow.

SHANNON VANRAES/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Actors wearing winter coats and boots stroll past Christmas decoration on the set of Mission: Christmas, a MarVista Entertainment production currently filming in River Heights, despite soaring temperatures.

“It seems to be throughout the industry the bulk of the orders for Christmas films get bought in the summer,” said Arnie Zipursky, executive producer at Neshama Entertainment.

“It’s an incredible challenge as producers that we just have to meet. Obviously, we’re thrilled to get the order for a movie, to make a deal with a distributer, to finance the film.”

The set and the actors bundled up for -40 C weather stand out on Stafford street, but the movie’s producer said they make sure the cast is taking breaks to cool down throughout the day.

“We just have to limit the amount of time that they’re wearing the coat and the amount of time we’re shooting, especially outside,” said Cary Davies, producer of the movie.

“When you’re trying to create that look, yes, we’re always keeping a close eye on sweat and that sort of stuff. On a day like today, we just limit the amount of time we’ve got our cast in a coat, try and get them to cool off and bring them back outside to shoot again.”

SHANNON VANRAES / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Despite heat warnings and temperatures in the 30s, MarVista Entertainment was filming Mission: Christmas at Stafford Street and Grosvenor Avenue.

When driving by the set, it’s not just the Christmas decorations and winter gear that catches the eye, it’s the number of masks being worn too. Davies said staff could sweat through three to four masks a day, but they have plenty extra on hand.

This is the second movie Davies has been a part of and he said COVID-19 has introduced a new role on set.

“The new thing that we’ve brought on is the position called the health and safety supervisor,” said Davies.

“She’s almost sort of your COVID supervisor, she’s highly qualified and basically goes around to make sure we’re following protocols that we set in place to make sure we are being safe at all times. She monitors the whole situation, looks over our whole plan and makes sure that we’re executing it.”

SHANNON VANRAES/WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Christmas signs and decorations hang in shop windows during the film production.
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