The Film Commission’s Guide to the Holiday Season
Known for the ‘Greatest Snow on Earth’ and just a short ride from city to slope, it’s no surprise that Utah continues to be a popular winter destination for filmmakers. And with the holiday season in full swing, the Utah Film Commission has shed some light on festive movies filmed here in state. So, grab a hot cocoa, settle down on the couch and see if you can spot any familiar (and likely snowy) scenes.
“We continue to be an attractive destination for holiday season content. Location is key, and it’s often the more mundane, unexpected and even off-the-beaten-path locations that are the most appealing for this genre. From the festive magic of the Midway Ice Castles, Temple Square and Thanksgiving Point, to our ‘every town USA’ quaint suburbia, and of course our many world-class ski resorts, we have such a diverse and unique offering”, said Utah Film Commission director, Virginia Pearce.
MADE-IN-UTAH HOLIDAY PICKS:
Mr Krueger’s Christmas (1980)
Filmed in Salt Lake City, this NBC Christmas special, starring James Stewart, became a household classic in Utah following its premiere on December 21st, 1980. Featuring the Mormon Tabernacle Choir, the short tells the tale of an elderly widower who relies on his daydreams and faith to get through a lonely Christmas.
Better Off Dead (1985)
Starring John Cusack, this American teen romantic comedy tells the story of high school student and avid-skier, Lane Myer, who is suicidal after his girlfriend breaks up with him shortly before Christmas. Scenes were filmed at Snowbird, Alta and Brighton Resorts here in Utah.
Dumb and Dumber (1994)
The comedic cross-country adventures of Lloyd and Harry premiered just in time for Christmas in 1994. We all remember those festive scenes, from the two friends shivering into ‘Aspen’ (which was really Park City) on their Vespa, to Jim Carrey’s aptly named ‘Lloyd Christmas’ entertaining friends at an imaginary festive gathering, with Christmas sweaters and all.
How the Grinch Stole Christmas (2000)
Who knew that one of the filming locations for the Dr. Seuss classic, directed by Ron Howard and starring Jim Carrey and Taylor Momsen, was right here in Utah? For those who aren’t familiar, the movie is set in the outskirts of ‘Whoville’, where a green, revenge-seeking Grinch plans on ruining Christmas for all the citizens. Shot at Solitude Mountain Resort, Jim Carrey’s Grinch battles the powdery snow at the tip of a mountain, with a beautiful sunset backdrop.
Good Luck Charlie, it’s Christmas! (2011)
Based on the popular Disney Channel Original Series, Good Luck Charlie, this festive film follows the Duncan family’s road trip. Idiocy strikes when a woman and her daughter get separated from their family during the holidays. The production filmed in Salt Lake City and St. George between March and September 2011.
Christmas Under Wraps (2014)
This was the first Hallmark Channel holiday movie to shoot in Utah and the network has continued to return. Starring Candace Cameron Bure, Christmas Under Wraps broke Hallmark Channel records, becoming cable’s top-rated original movie of the year and the second-most-watched. Set in an Alaskan town, filming locations included Salt Lake City, Payson and Heber City.
Christmas Land (2015)
Filmed in Salt Lake City, Farmington (Pioneer Village, located in the Lagoon Amusement Park) and Riverton, this Hallmark Channel love story is set in a magical Christmas-themed village and Christmas tree farm in the countryside.
Switched for Christmas (2017)
Candace Cameron Bure returned to Utah this year to film the story of twin sisters who swap lives until Christmas Day. In doing so, each woman gains a deeper perspective and appreciation of what she has. Filmed in downtown Salt Lake, Federal Heights and the Utah State Fair Park, the movie premiered on the Hallmark Channel in November, landing the best ratings of any of the channel’s yuletide films this season to date, scoring 5.17 million viewers and a 0.9 rating among adults 18-49.
Enchanted Christmas (2017)
This made-in-Utah holiday movie filmed on location at Midway’s Zermatt Lodge, also premiered on the Hallmark Channel in November. Starring Alexa and Carlos PenaVega, the movie is set in Utah and follows a young widow as she spearheads a hotel renovation ahead of a Christmas Eve benefit, finding love along the way.
Wrapped Up In Christmas (2017)
Filmed in Provo Towne Center earlier this year, this holiday movie showcased on Lifetime in November. Starring The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air’s Tatyana Ali, it’s the tale of a mall manager who falls for a widower filling in for the mall’s Santa.
Little Women (Expected 2018)
Earlier this year, production took place in Utah for a reimagined take on Louisa May Alcott’s much loved, coming-of- age tale of sisterhood. Four sisters live with their mother, facing Christmas without their father as war is underway. The independent feature is due for release in 2018 to mark the 150th anniversary of the book’s publication. Clare Niederpruem, who acted in the Utah-made film, Once I Was a Beehive, makes her directorial debut with this modern version of Little Women. Lea Thompson plays the family matriarch, Marmie, while High School Musical’s Lucas Grabeel returned to Utah for the role of Laurie. This is set to be the latest movie rendition of the classic story. And while we’re awaiting the film’s release, why not watch the most recent (1994) production?
Debra Vago is a publicist, writer and film enthusiast. She resides in Salt Lake City, having relocated from London, England.
Contact Debra for any Utah Film Commission press and media inquires at firstname.lastname@example.org.