Filming of holiday movie wraps up in New Britain

Published on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:03
Written by Angie DeRosa

Staff Writer

NEW BRITAIN - Filming wrapped up Monday on “Christmas Hours,” the holiday movie shot almost entirely in New Britain.

Synthetic Cinema International, the Rocky Hill production company working on the film, posted on its Facebook page Monday morning that shooting had been completed.

“… and that’s a wrap for “Christmas Hours”!!! Thank you Cast & Crew for an awesome shoot. This is gonna be one heck of a great Holiday Film…can’t wait to dig into post…errrrr…tomorrow!,” the post said.

“Christmas Hours” is about two competing toy store owners, played by Melissa Joan Hart and Mario Lopez, who team up to fight off a corporate toy store. In the midst of taking down the corporate giant, the two characters end up falling in love.

It is slated for release sometime this December, but whether it is destinged for theaters, television or the internet has not been announced.

Amato’s Toy and Hobby at 283 Main St. served as the main backdrop for the movie, the interior being remodeled as two separate toy stores - Hart’s and Lopez’s.

Owner Steve Amato told The Herald his shop was selected after a chance meeting with Andrew Gernhard, a producer with Synthetic Cinema, months ago at West Side Tavern while out to dinner with his wife.

When Gernhard heard he would need a toy store for an upcoming movie, he immediately contacted Amato. Soon after, the whole production crew fell in love with New Britain.

“It’s so beautiful,” said Paula Hart, mother of the film’s co-star. “It (the location) needed to be somewhat urban and picturesque.”

Paula and Melissa Joan Hart two own and run a production company, Hartbreak Films, which directed “Christmas Hours.” Melissa Joan Hart is a state resident, living in Westport.

Central Connecticut State University’s television studio was used in the filming process for its floor-to-ceiling green screen. Other locations featured in the film included City Hall, Miss Washington Diner, Vic’s Auto Body Shop and the West End home of Gaffney Elementary School’s principal, Anita Fazio.

The parking lot off of Court Street was used to host a Christmas festival in the movie, and featured the Alvarium Beer Co. and members of the Little Poland community.

Mayor Erin Stewart even made her acting debut as a disgruntled toy store customer.

The Bristol Public Library and the former Barley Vine gastro pub and The Shaffer Co. on Main Street in Bristol were also used as sets.

After production ended, the Harts donated the Hasbro toys used in the film to the Connecticut Children’s Hospital in Hartford.

Angie DeRosa can be reached at 860-801-5063 or

Posted in New Britain Herald, , General News, New Britain on Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:03. Updated: Tuesday, 29 August 2017 23:05.