The movie “A Christmas Vintage,” filmed in Hermann last winter, is now available to stream on FreeVee. We caught up with co-screenwriter and producer Elizabeth Snoderly to tell us about her experience making this film.
Why did you choose to film in Hermann, Missouri?
ES: I was talking to a medical colleague at a medical conference, and he mentioned Hermann as a really cute town. He thought it would be great for a romantic Christmas movie. So, I emailed the town and Tammy [Bruckerhoff, Tourism & Economic Development Director of Visit Hermann] connected with me. I went to scout Hermann and Augusta in April of 2022. I was impressed with Hermann and Tammy was so great because she had lined up different locations for me to look at, which really helped me. I then set up another, more detailed scout trip with Lexi [director of A Christmas Vintage] and Ferguson [co-screenwriter and director of photography], and we came to the area in July and met with the different potential locations. We talked about a story line and actually Lexi and Ferguson came up with the idea of the Taming of the Shrew concept, and Ferguson talked to the winemakers and really researched the area and the variety of wines in Missouri. (We were quite impressed with the area and the wines). I had never heard of the Norton grape before I went there. But I will say that Tammy was so helpful, and she was so much help, which was probably why we decided to film there.
Tell us a little about your experience filming there.
ES: We had a great experience filming in the town. Tammy helped us find extras for the scenes and everyone in general was so kind. The crew and cast loved the community. My crew got to be really close to many of the residents in the town. I know they would all love to go back to Hermann for another film!
Were there any unexpected challenges you faced?
ES: The housing budget for us is tight because we are a low budget project with limited funds, and the housing was more expensive because it is such a tourist destination. We did have to spend more on housing than we have on previous projects.
What about unexpected benefits?
ES: We had great community support and Tammy was amazing and so helpful. If we had an issue, we could ask Tammy, as well as many of the local people for help. For example, we had an issue with needing a bigger Christmas tree in the square and Mike was a local guy who worked with us as a PA and connected us to a local Christmas tree place that brought in the 16 foot Christmas tree we needed. And the locals and Tammy really helped us to find locations, if one did not work out. Tammy and her team also compiled a list of people willing to help out and be extras in the film.
Also, we had a lot of help and support from the St Louis Lambert International Airport. Roger Lotz was exceptional and really made the experience positive.
Did you have a favorite moment or story over the course of production?
ES: Hard to answer because there are a lot of little things. I really loved that Tammy, David (owner of Vallet Haus) and Lainee (owner of Espresso Laine) played our judges in the wine competition scene. I have to say that Lainee from Espresso Laine became a big favorite to all of the crew and cast and they all became addicted to her amazing coffee! I know we all went out to the piano bar and had a really fun time. Everyone loved shopping in the area and finding unique things.
What was it like to premiere the film in Hermann?
ES: The premiere was amazing. We were impressed with all the details and extra effort made for the premiere. Hermann had a red carpet set up and there were posters made and refreshments available. It was so great to have the Missouri Film Office bring the backdrop for the premiere, and this is the first time we have had a state film commission show up for a premiere and support the film. We really appreciated that and enjoyed meeting staff from the Missouri Film Office in person. Overall, we were blown away with the wonderful set up of the premiere and all of the community support. Everyone was so kind, and we really enjoyed sharing the movie with everyone.
Do you have any advice for filmmakers who want to make their project in Missouri?
ES: I would highly recommend utilizing the resources available in the state and connecting with the Missouri Film Office, as well as reaching out to the local government and chamber of commerce of where you are considering for your film. We have filmed in many other locations in the past, but I do not remember ever getting the level of support that we received from the city of Hermann, the community of Hermann, and the Missouri Film Commision.
Photos curtesy of Visit Hermann.