Filming 'A Carolina Christmans'

Imagine a new city inspector who hates Christmas coming to a small town in South Carolina.

Imagine the town defending Christmas and deciding if Santa is real or just a fairy tale.

That’s the synopsis of “A Carolina Christmas,” a Dalton Pictures production that premieres in The Market Common Nov. 20 and will run in 20 other theatres in 10 other states through the holiday season.

And as it does, the family-friendly movie that producer Jerry Dalton says “will make you believe in the magic of Christmas” will feature several locals.

Pastor Wayne and Joy Brown, their daughter Meri Beth Howard and her niece and nephew, Mazi Grace and Bronson Howard, are some of the 2,500 hopefuls who made the cut for the no-adult-language, no-adult-situations and no-nudity movie.

Auditions were held in Myrtle Beach, Atlanta, Georgia, and Charlotte, North Carolina.

There are 44 speaking roles in the movie and about 100 extras.

The premiere showing will be Friday, Nov. 20, at the Stone Theatres Grand 14 at 4002 Deville St.

“When the [COVID-19] shutdown happened, we thought that we were going to be forced to place the motion picture on a streaming platform,” Dalton says. “The picture is meant to be seen on a big screen in complete surround sound. Nothing else would do.

“Fortunately, theaters began opening and we started booking the picture for release.”

Dalton said getting a picture booked in theaters during the Christmas holiday season isn’t easy to do, “and that says a lot about the picture.”

Howard’s part is that of Elizabeth, a single mom who recently moved to the South Carolina town of Paradise to start a new life.

Not wanting to give away any spoilers, Howard says, “Elizabeth has had some hard knocks in life but is thankful for the Christmas spirit.”

Howard, who majored in dramatic arts at Coastal and calls acting her passion and love, explains that the movie is actually three stories in one.

“It all interconnects, but you don’t know until the movie is coming to fruition how it all intertwines.”

After the Myrtle Beach premiere, “A Carolina Christmas” will be shown in Arkansas, Georgia, Illinois, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, North Carolina, Ohio, four other South Carolina locations, Tennessee and Wisconsin.

Visit carolinachristmasmovie.com or Dalton Pictures’ Facebook page for more details.

Dalton says The Market Common showing will be a full run of a couple weeks.

“The second run is always based on the first week, and in some theaters, they’re booked for three or four weeks.”

Dalton says most Christmas movies are R-rated, and it’s been a long time since there’s been a Christmas movie for families.

“It’s a family Christmas movie, but there’s intrigue, drama and intense situations. The message,” he adds, “is the question of whether Santa really exists.”

“For me,” says Pastor Wayne Brown, “It’s a story of hope and belief and light in the darkness in relationships and it’s about redemption in relationships.

“Restoration in relationships is found in God,” Brown says.

“If we’re right with Him, we can be right with each other.”

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