Behind the scenes look of Wilmington house featured in Hallmark movie


WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) — Although it’s only September, Christmas is already happening in one part of the Cape Fear. It’s part of the Hallmark movie USS Christmas filming in Wilmington.

One family in town is even playing a part in the production of the film.

“We had thought about it and always thought it’d be fun to be a part of a movie,” Lisa Nieves, whose home is being used for production, said.

This offer came much to their surprise just a few days ago though.

“We came home one day and their was a letter on the door with the Hallmark logo that said, ‘Sorry we missed you,'” she said. “And the location scout came over and took a look.”

Christmas came early for the Nieves family this year. With about a week and a half’s notice, they packed up and loaned their home to the filmmakers of USS Christmas for the week.

“We’re big into Hallmark, so it was perfect, and just to continue where we got married here, to have a movie about the Navy,” Lisa’s husband David Nieves said. “I’m retired Navy. I’m a Lieutenant Commander, so it kind of comes full circle.”

Nieves says they couldn’t be opening their doors to a more fitting film.

The project comes as good news not only for Hallmark fans, but for the Wilmington film industry.

“The past six months, productions have just been trying to figure out how to move forward,” Wilmington Regional Film Commission Director Johnny Griffin said. “How to continue how to do business as best that they can, and they’ve started to figure it out. So we’re fortunate now that we do have three productions in Wilmington.”

Griffin says USS Christmas will be joined by the Starz drama Hightown and the feature film Parkside. According to IMDB, Parkside is the working title for Scream 5.

Griffin says crews have had to adjust to filming pandemic-style.

“Social distancing is difficult to do on a film set when you’re trying to work in close proximity to actors, doing hair, makeup, wardrobe,” Griffin said. “A lot of different equipment is handled by a lot of different people, so they’ve done a lot of work with all the crews being tested weekly. Some people, multiple times per week. Everybody is having to wear masks.”

Griffin says the future is looking bright here in Wilmington though. He says they have a full slate of potential projects coming in 2021.

With the halls decked already for USS Christmas, the Nieves family got a sneak peek Tuesday.

“It’s a really fun thing, and a really uplifting thing for our community,” Lisa Nieves said. “Everybody’s been so excited, and it’s just a good thing for 2020.”

The Nieves family says they’re looking forward to seeing their home on the big screen this Christmas.

Griffin says productions are taking things one day at a time, but he’s hopeful for a much more successful back half of 2020.

USS Christmas is looking for Naval personnel to be paid extras. You can find more information here.

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