There was fake snow, fluffy little white puppies, candy canes and extras bundled up in scarves and mittens in downtown Fernie this week, as filming started on a new family Christmas movie.
Fernie is to take centre-stage in the movie that shows how Santa and his pack of talking dogs save the happiest town in the world.
Santa Pups will be filmed for four weeks, on location on Second Avenue, Fernie Museum, Fernie Courthouse, City Hall and Coal Creek barn.
More than 100 cast and crew will fill several hotels and use the city’s restaurants and shops during filming, and many locals are being cast as movie extras.
The cast includes Charlie’s Angels actress Cheryl Ladd as Mrs. Claus and Seinfeld actor Danny Woodburn as Santa’s head elf.
Director Robert Vince is behind many other talking animal family movies, including Air Bud, the Santa Buddies, Space Buddies and the recently-released Spooky Buddies.
Production and Location Manager, Darcy Wild, says Fernie will represent the fictional town of Pineville – the happiest town in the world.
In the movie everyone in Pineville is preparing for Christmas, when the town’s Christmas spirit is ruined by a misunderstanding. Santa, his elves and his team of Great Pyrenees puppies must travel from the North Pole to save the day.
Filming will take place between noon and midnight most days, and many restaurants and bars are staying open late in order to deal with the cast and crew’s meal breaks.
The museum building will represent a radio station in the movie, and other shops on the block will be decorated to represent businesses in the fictional Pineville.
A courtroom scene was added to the movie so that the interior of Fernie Courthouse could be used as a location, and the outside of the building will represent a school. The outside of Fernie City Hall will be used for a Christmas tree lighting scene.
An ice rink will be built outside Coal Creek barn for the filming, and local skaters will be used as extras.
The only scenes not to be filmed in Fernie are those set in Santa’s workshop in the North Pole, which will be shot in a studio in Vancouver.
Snow machines are being used to create snow at each location.
The movie will be released in time for Christmas 2012.