I met Jennifer Gibson and Micah Kalisch from Christmas Chalet through my good friend James F. Steven’s at Talent Inc. Canada. On Saturday, December 7, At 2:45 PM sharp, my wife and I sat down to watch Christmas Chalet at the Royal Cinema. Before the film, Jennifer Gibson made a quick introduction, the light went out and the curtains opened.
Here’s a quick synopsis and review. Christmas Chalet, directed by Jennifer Gibson, is about a divorced mother, daughter and grandmother that show up at a chalet where they learn it was double booked. They end up sharing the chalet with a writer who happens to hate Christmas. As the characters get to know each other, the writer’s negative attitude starts to shift. Thought it was a fantastic holiday movie by Jennifer Gibson. I was hooked from the start of the movie. I felt I can really understand the emotions of the different characters especially the daughter in the movie played by Micah Kalisch.
Fun fact: Elle Magazine rated Jennifer Gibson’s Christmas Chalet on their 18 New Christmas Movies Worth A Watch This Holiday Season. I felt honoured to be part of the experience. As I had a few questions about the film, I thought why not go right to the source. I reached out to Jennifer Gibson (Film Director) and Micah Kalisch (Lexi, the daughter in the movie) for a few quick interviews.
cinqque5tion with Film Director Jennifer Gibson Christmas Chalet
Jennifer Gibson, can you tell us a bit about the individuals who worked behind the scenes in the Christmas Chalet project?
A film like this requires everyone to be on the top of their game, and I am so grateful that that’s exactly what we got. Everyone went above and beyond their job description, and put everything they had into making this movie the best it could be. I owe a huge debt and gratitude to the crew who believed in this movie and did whatever they had to do to make it happen.
Can you describe the process of selecting the actors and actresses for the Christmas Chalet film?
Erica Durance (our lead actor “Grace”) and I have known each other for almost 15 years but never worked together. I sent her the script and she loved it. Thank God, because I don’t know anyone else who could have played Grace with her skill, vulnerability, hope, and fearlessness. Robin Dunne (our other lead “Jack”) is also a friend and I knew I needed him because his humour and charm are always evident and only seconded by the depth of his acting abilities. Micah Kalisch is a former acting student of mine and was always my top choice to play Lexi. Elva Mai Hoover is a standout as Helen, and we found her through our magnificent casting director, Larissa Mair.
With a turnaround of only 10 days of filming, I am extremely pleased with the end result. Jennifer Gibson, can you tell us how you made it all happen?
Hopes, prayers, and luck! In all seriousness, planning was the key. We knew every shot we needed, extra shots we wanted, and when to go to our left. The cast and crew were always incredibly well prepared as well, which meant we used every second of shooting to tell the best story we could!
Before the film at the Royal Cinema, you described a little about the process of making Christmas Chalet and who was involved in making the film. Do you mind taking a moment to discuss what was said?
When the “metoo” movement began, I realized that things that had happened to me in this business were not my fault, and I was angry that so many other women had gone through similar things and we never even discussed it because we thought we were to blame. I have a now 5-year-old daughter and I did not want her to grow up thinking that she could be harassed or assaulted and it was her fault.
Invited to join “Aftermetoo”, a movement to eradicate workplace sexual violence, and one of the first things we identified that would stop workplace violence was to have more females in key leadership positions, and gender parity on set. I am so proud to say we had both on the set of “The Christmas Chalet”. Our executive producers Robert Vaughn (also my husband) and Marek Posival put together a phenomenal team and focused on promoting and mentoring women.
I can not thank them enough. It has been so amazing to see young girls encouraged to pursue their passions and know that the boss can be female, even in a male-dominated field. My own daughter doesn’t even think it’s noteworthy that I’m a director and I’m female, and that’s the best.
Are there any future projects coming soon Jennifer Gibson?
Yes! I directed another Christmas movie called “Christmas Stars” which will be out Dec. 13 on Lifetime, and I continue to act in many different productions. Upcoming titles include: Christmas Temp, Christmas Jars, October Faction & Spinning out
cinqque5tion with Actress Micah Kalisch Christmas Chalet
Micah Kalisch, can you tell us about your audition experience for Christmas Chalet?
I actually didn’t audition for the role, I had worked with the director and production company before and they offered me the role. I also have trained with Jennifer Gibson for several years now. She is absolutely extraordinary, I cannot speak highly enough of her as a teacher, actor, director, and person!
Can you describe a typical day before filming for Christmas Chalet Micah Kalisch?
We filmed in so many different locations and at such varying times (night shoots, early mornings, etc) that there wasn’t really a constant…each day was different. I could always rely on having a great day though, the entire crew and cast were absolutely brilliant and really made the entire experience so special.
From watching the movie, I noticed your character goes through a roller coaster of emotions (with the divorce of parents & boyfriend issues). Do you enjoy dramatic roles? Do you like to play other genres as well?
Lexi was such a fascinating role for me to play, she undergoes so many real and life-altering events, including navigating the aftermath of her parents divorce. I really enjoyed bringing Lexi to life and learned a lot about myself through her. While I enjoy playing all sorts of genres and roles, I often find I am able to learn and grow more as both an actor and a person, through characters.
How would you describe each cast members in Christmas Chalet in one word? Go!
Yikes! One word!! The entire cast is so amazing it is hard to describe them in just one word! They are all extraordinary, intelligent, talented, and lovely people who I am so honoured to have worked alongside.
Erica Durance: Inspiring – Grace: Selfless
Robin Dunne: Dedicated – Jack: Dynamic
Elva Mai Hoover: Kind – Helen: Hilarious
Micah Kalisch, what can we expect in 2020?
I am working on different industry-related things for 2020 that I’m pretty excited about! Overall though I am excited to keep learning and involving myself in the industry. I am very thankful to have worked with such an inspiring crew full of female role models.
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