Casting call made for Lifetime Christmas movie filming in New Iberia

Producer Daniel Lewis, left, and unit production manager Sean O’Reagan touchup the tire snowman decorations provided by Mayor Freddie DeCourt as his contribution to the town’s Christmas theme at the old Gulf Gas Station on Main and Swain. New Iberia is the setting for the 2019 Lifetime Christmas movie that starts filming on Friday.

Cliche as it may be, it’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas on Main Street in New Iberia. City workers were busy Monday trimming branches and wrapping strings of lights around the trunks of the crepe myrtle that line the downtown area in preparation for a Lifetime channel movie set to film in New Iberia.

Shop owners and apartment dwellers have been asked to use what they have to decorate their storefronts and balconies for the holiday season to help kick off the season.

A New Orleans casting company that worked with Action Entertainment on past productions will again be handling local casting for extras and more. Shooting begins Friday, Aug. 9, and continues for three weeks, wrapping on Aug. 31, if all goes according to schedule. Producer Daniel Lewis said Monday at a press conference for local news outlets that he hopes to have a good response by Friday from locals who are interested in being in the movie. The extras casting coordinator will keep a list of potential talent based on their availability and interest throughout the production schedule. After selection, additional information will be provided.

Individuals, family and group submissions can be made at the same time by including each person’s name, date of birth, recent photo (accurate current depiction needed, professional quality is not necessary), and a statement or two about availability. If working, explain the hours or days open and also if you would be willing to work during night shoots. Submit a photo with the information via email to BGCOTRFilm@gmail.com.

Shooting days on a tight production schedule require committed cooperation by all selected talent or other crew and production specialists — and expect long days. Although some set requirements for atmosphere talent might be for two hours, the call in any situation depends on a good attitude, willingness to follow direction and ability to stay “quiet on the set” until the director says, “that’s a wrap.” Any one-liners or bit parts will be selected as needed from the submissions to the casting department.

The Lifetime movie shooting this month in New Iberia will be edited and aired during the 2019 Christmas season which means a smooth production is a necessity. Production teams traditionally work with crew and above the line talent that have proven in past productions that they are able to deliver what is needed to meet intense schedules. Lewis, who started in the industry around 2008, said most of the crew is from Louisiana. He has completed 30 movies in the state and Mississippi and depends on the efficiency of his team. After previously shooting Christmas films in Lafayette at Acadian Village and another in Youngsville, he said he is looking forward to making another movie in Acadiana that will maintain the identity of the town where location shooting takes place. In past productions, names of restaurants and shops remain authentic so fans of the movie can visit from around the world.

As an example, the storyline takes place at the 50th anniversary of the Sugar Cane Christmas Festival. A lot of outdoor scenes around downtown will be shot including a dance sequence around the fountain on the plaza in front of City Hall. There also will be a lighted decorated boat parade down the Bayou Teche, something residents haven’t seen in a number of years. Aug. 23 and 24 are slated for the night shoots that will capture the celebration footage on the water. Not only will people be needed along the shore watching the parade, the producers are looking for boat owners willing to decorate their ships of all styles and sizes to be included throughout the night, from sundown to sunup.

There will be a Christmas boat decorating contest. Ten operable boats will be picked from submissions for the competition which will take place the day before filming, judged by the movie’s top actors. Christmas lights will be provided, additional decorations are welcome. Producers encourage creativity. Cash prizes of $1,000 and $500 will be presented to the first and second place winners. After they are chosen, the remaining eight boats will receive $250 for their time and use.

To submit photos of various types of boats, previously decorated or undecorated to show style and size of boat, email BOATSCOTRFilm@gmail.com. Be sure to specify if you have the ability to operate the boat both nights Aug. 23 and 24 from 7 p.m. to 7 a.m. You must be available both nights to compete in boat decorating competition. If not, the boat may still be used in the scene moored along the route to create the atmosphere of the night festivities, but without compensation.

This event will be the grand finale of the movie, so make plans now show community cheer and experience the night’s extravaganza.

Vicky Branton is Teche Life editor for The Daily Iberian. You can reach her at techelife.editor@daily-iberian.com.

Teche Life Editor for The Daily Iberian

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