Movie magic in Lake Placid

Long Island director plans to film Christmas movie in Tri-Lakes

Candice “Candy” Cain is the writer and director of “A Jar Full of Christmas,” a “wholesome Christmas movie” set and slated to film in Lake Placid. This will be her 12th Christmas movie. (Provided photo — Lauren Hallaceli)

LAKE PLACID — Despite her apt name, Candy Cain did not always want to make Christmas movies.

“I was a little resistant to making Christmas movies,” she said. “I went to this (convention) in France and I met this woman named Anna who worked for Reel One Entertainment, and she was like, ‘Listen, your name is Candy Cain. You have to make a Christmas movie.’ And I was like, ‘I don’t want to.’ And then a few months later, somebody approached me and said, ‘Well, I’ll give you a budget, I really want a vehicle for me to be an actor, you know, will you make a movie?’ and I’m like, ‘Well, how do you feel about a Christmas movie?’ and then I ended up making ‘Ivy and Mistletoe.'”

Since April 2019, Cain has written and directed 16 movies — 12 Christmas films and four non-Christmas films — as well as three TV shows. Her latest film, “Christmas for Three,” had its world premiere in October at the Lake Placid Film Festival. The premiere did more than launch her new movie — it sparked her next one.

“I did a Q-and-A session and then I spoke on the finance panel (at LPFF),” she said. “Everybody kept saying to me, you know, you’ve got to set a movie up here.”

After the festival, Cain wrote “A Jar Full of Christmas,” her next film, which is set in Lake Placid and slated to start filming on Dec. 4.

“It is a wholesome Christmas movie,” Cain said. “It is about a single mom who is originally from Lake Placid who hasn’t been back in 13 years just because of personal history, you know, issues. Her mom passes away and she comes back home and she inherits everything from her mom. The church is, they’re having financial issues, and everybody loves the jam that her mom used to make. So she finds the recipe and ends up making the jam and using the profits to save the church. In the meantime, she reconnects with her best friend, Summer, and another friend, Everett, who she ends up developing a romantic relationship with.”

Cain said that she wanted to set the film in Lake Placid rather than having Lake Placid double for another location. Sunny Edelman — the president of Upstate Women in Film and Television, a non-profit organization that supports women from upstate New York who work in media — had already been encouraging Cain to shoot a movie upstate. Then, there was the added benefit of Lake Placid’s world-famous snow — Cain, who lives on Long Island, felt she could not be assured of a white Christmas if she filmed downstate.

“Something that Hallmark really, really wants for films that they acquire — and this is not saying that we’re a Hallmark movie, because we’re not a Hallmark movie, but we want to check off every box that they have. Something that’s in their mandates is there has to be snow,” Cain said. “So, downstate, there’s really, you can’t depend on the snow. And while I was up here, it started snowing on, like, Oct. 28. It’s a beautiful little town and I knew that they wanted to have us up here, so that’s why I pulled the trigger.”

“A Jar Full of Christmas” will be co-produced by Cain’s company, Gemelli Films, and the UK-based company Content Rocket. After announcing on the We Love Lake Placid NY Facebook page that she was looking to hire local crew and background actors last week — a post that was reprinted by several news outlets — Cain said that she received over 4,000 messages and emails from people looking to participate in the film. This past weekend, she traveled around the Tri-Lakes with some of her frequent creative collaborators to scout filming locations and nail down final details about vendors and actors — all of whom she said she’d be contacting during the following week.

“The people here have been really, really nice and really, really accommodating,” Cain said. “We’re very excited to shoot here.”

The three-week shoot is planned for Dec. 4 to 22 around the Tri-Lakes, and Cain said that the film is slated to be released during the 2024 holiday season — though she would like to host a “Christmas in July premiere” this summer in Lake Placid.

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