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Movie Magic at Whitetail Meadow

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Film Set Crop
Exclusive peek inside the Whitetail Meadow set, its halls decked for Christmas. Brenda Sawatzky

Manitoba temperatures have been soaring outside, but inside the halls of Whitetail Meadow something else has been smoldering—a steamy Christmas love story. Located at the corner of Highways 200 and 311, the event centre has been buzzing this summer with movie magic.

In mid-July, directors, actors, and set crews executed a complete takeover of the Whitetail Meadow grounds and facilities to create a new film. Entitled Let’s Meet Again at Christmas, and produced by the Lifetime TV Network, the movie is set to air this Christmas Eve.

“The premise of the movie is that a couple come to Whitetail Meadow—yes, they are calling it Whitetail Meadow—to renew their vows,” says Lori Neufeld, co-owner of the event centre.

Neufeld’s husband, Dave, acted as film crew liaison during the two weeks of filming. He’s still struck by the movie crew’s ability to transform a hot summer night into a magical Christmas scene with the use of a simulated full moon, artificial snow applied to the grassy landscape, and Christmas trees and warm fires to complete the festive backdrop.

“It’s a beautiful location,” says the film’s producer, Juliette Hargopian. “It has everything we needed.”

Hargopian says that much of the appeal was the variety of film shoot options in one location, including the interior and exterior of the event hall and the use of Marigold Cottage, the centre’s charming honeymoon suite.

The expansive grounds also provided ample space for a large tent so the entire cast and crew could dine and relax onsite between shoots.

The film stars actors Brooks Darnell and Kyla Pratt. Brooks has made his mark in movies like Total Recall alongside Colin Farrell and played the role of Dr. Nate Hastings in The Young and the Restless.

Pratt’s acting career began as a child. She’ll be remembered for her role as Eddie Murphy’s daughter in the Dr. Doolittle movies and was the voice of Penny Proud in the Disney Channel animated series The Proud Family.

Neufeld says the production company’s request to use Whitetail Meadow came as welcome news.

“Frankly, we were very happy when we got the email, because our July weddings all had to be rescheduled due to COVID,” she says. “The timing could not have been better. In an average year, we could never have accommodated a summer movie shoot.”

The film crew is preparing to pack up in anticipation of their final day of shooting on July 31. Right after, the event centre will jump right back into swing, hosting two weddings over the August long weekend.

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