‘A California Christmas’ is a holiday-themed romantic film that is also actor Lauren Swickard’s first project as a screenwriter. The film follows Joseph (Josh Swickard) and Callie (Lauren Swickard), who are from somewhat different worlds. Joseph is a corporate executive, while Callie is a farmer who owns the farmland that Joseph’s company wants to buy. Convincing Callie to sell her farm is his golden ticket to a promotion, but things don’t go as planned.
When Joseph arrives at the farm, Callie mistakes him for a ranch hand, but here is the twist – Joseph instantly falls for her and decides to play along so that he can stay close to her. Callie has no idea about who Joseph really is and why he came to the farm in the first place. The film is set in California, and if you are wondering whether it is also filmed there, we’ve got the answer!
A California Christmas Filming Locations
‘A California Christmas’ was filmed on location in Petaluma, California. The movie is one of the earliest live-action productions to begin filming in North America since the industry-wide shutdown due to COVID-19. It commenced filming on July 5, 2020, and was shot over a period of three and a half weeks. Let us dive into the details!
The filming process was heavily impacted by the pandemic, which is why it was of prime importance that a safe location was chosen for filming. Keeping this in mind, the filming predominantly took place in Ali Afshar’s (the executive producer and also plays Leo in this film) childhood home in Petaluma in Sonoma County. However, it was not easy to get the clearances from the state, county, and city officials.
Ali Afshar has previously produced more than a dozen films that have been shot in and around Petaluma, such as ‘Lady Driver,’ ‘The Stand at Paxton County,’ and ‘Bennett’s War.’ The place seems to be very special even to the lead actors, who are a real-life couple since they met on the sets of ‘Roped,’ which was also shot in the city.
Besides filming on the family ranch, the movie also shot sequences in several locations in the area, including Hotel Petaluma. The variety of landscapes in the city range from Victorian-style architecture, farms, and present-day urban buildings, making this city a favorable filming location for movies, television series, and commercials.
The fact that the leads in the film – Lauren and Josh Swickard – are a married couple who quarantined together, cut out many obstacles that the new COVID directed rules pose in the production of a film. Intimacy scenes during the pandemic are a little tricky, and the new rules encourage films to avoid the scenes altogether, which was not an issue for this film. However, strict protocols were set for filming, including physical distancing.
Hair and make-up artists were required to wear PPE while working on the cast members. The touch-ups between sequences had to be taken care of by the actors themselves, as they followed verbal instructions from the hair and make-up experts. All cast and crew members had to test negative before the movie started filming, and regular temperature checks were part of the daily routine. Lauren Swickard shared that around two hours per day were spent on following the set safety measures.
Read More: Best Christmas Movies on Netflix