Unless you’ve driven downtown New Iberia, or walked into the shops along the Main Street shopping area, you might not know Christmas is coming early this year. Although the rumors started weeks ago, the crew moved in July 22 beginning preproduction to start shooting Monday, there are still some local residents that have no idea a movie for Lifetime is in town. “Christmas on the River,” is about to transform the hot summer weather into the cheeriest time of the year — next to the Louisiana Sugar Cane Festival. But then again, this early holiday will be a double portion for fans of the festival and the season. It’s Christmas in the Berry as the 50th Anniversary of the Christmas Sugarcane Festival comes to town. No surprise to Lifetime or Christmas movie fans, it’s a love story, multi-generational.
“We’re currently booking the new Lifetime movie ‘Christmas on the River’ and seeking volunteer background to work with us throughout the production which will be shooting all over New Iberia from Aug. 16 until Aug. 30,” said Lee Pierce, extras casting for Caballero Casting of New Orleans. “It is a multi-generational love story which is set in New Iberia and involves a young woman who comes home from Boston during the 50th Christmas Sugarcane Festival. This will be shot in downtown New Iberia and will showcase a number of local establishments.”
“Christmas on the River” stars country singer and “One Tree Hill” star Jana Kramer. The film also stars Percy Daggs III from “Veronica Mars,” and Barry Bostwick from the “Rocky Horror Picture Show” and “Spin City.”
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The producer, Daniel Lewis, said Monday at the first press conference that most of the crew is from Louisiana and worked with him on other movies in Acadiana. Andrew Morgan Smith is from Youngsville and has worked on 20 of the Active Entertainment films in the art department. Missy Talley will be the editor, a University of Louisiana at Lafayette graduate and Matt Bell, also from UL Lafayette, is the director of photography.
Traditionally the Christmas movie schedule on Lifetime will broadcast the movie that will remain true to the natural character of New Iberia, including the town’s name, will be broadcast four to six times this year and will continue to air for six to seven years. That’s a great promotion for the Teche Area and everyone is needed to bring the success all involved in the production are hoping will occur.