Carmel auditions for lead in Hallmark holiday movie

Christkindlmarkt in Carmel is preparing to open for its second year this weekend. (WTHR Photo: Anna Carrera)
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CARMEL, Ind. (WTHR) — The City of Carmel is auditioning for a lead role on the Hallmark Channel.

Yep, Carmel hopes to be the backdrop for a romantic holiday.

Hallmark Christmas movies are often set in small, picturesque towns, many times with an outdoor skating rink and an historic German village, much like Carmel offers during the holiday season adjacent to its Center for the Performing Arts.

"We've been told time and time again by people who come to the Christkindlmarkt that it's like being in a Hallmark movie," city spokesman Dan McFeely said. "We hear that all time, so thought why not give it a try?"

Try out for a starring role, especially after Carmel's New York-based consultant found a captive audience in Hallmark, known for its G-rated, feel-good films.

McFeely said the city has sent video clips to Hallmark and exchanged emails.

"They have told us they are interested and we're hoping to get them here for a visit," he said.

At the nearby Cake Bake Shop, which has all the ingredients of a Hallmark movie, owner Gwen Rogers said, "fantastic, they should absolutely come here," when told of the plot to draw Hallmark.

"I admit I watch (Hallmark movies) probably not every night, but close to every night," she said. "It's great TV. I love it."

Asked about a possible storyline involving the characters who meet and fall in love, Rogers didn't skip a beat.

"There's got to be some sort of baking," she said. Maybe "they build a gingerbread house or make a cake together."

Others weighing agreed Carmel's Christkindlmarkt would be perfectly cast in a holiday love story.

Jana Gilbert said, "it's a great fit. I think it would be perfect. It's just a little paradise, kind of a magical community.

"It always has the sparkle and everybody's always happy," Claire Gilbert said.

As for movie-based themes? McFeely said, "a nice love story built around a couple's love for roundabouts or public art or perhaps they meet at a show at the Palladium. There's lots of different ways you could work it in and we'd be happy to help them write that as well."

But like all Hallmark movies, there's some drama involved. In this case, Hallmark shoots most of its films in Canada where it gets hard-to-beat tax breaks and other incentives.

Will there be happy ending? McFeely hopes so. In 2017, Hallmark's holiday movies drew 72 million viewers. That's not just a lot of eyeballs. It's a lot of positive publicity for a city hoping more people and businesses fall in love with it and move there.

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