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Locally made movie is a Christmas gift

Published: Saturday, Nov. 19 2011 12:00 a.m. MST

MAPLETON — The Hallmark movie "A Christmas Wish," originally titled "A Root Beer Christmas," promises to become a holiday classic — at least among Utahns.

It premieres this Sunday at 6 p.m. on the Hallmark Channel.

Not only does the movie feature real local snow and several locally known actors, much of the movie was shot in Mapleton's Model A Cafe, restored and reopened in 2008 by Harold Munn.

Munn agreed to turn the cafe over to the movie company for six days, feeding the cast and crew while they filmed.

It also snowed during the three weeks the filmmakers were making the movie, adding local magic to the film.

Kevin Herring of Provo plays the stepson of the beleagured mother whose husband walks out on her just days before Christmas.

Bart Johnson of Heber City is Cal Evans. Johnson is known for his role as Coach Jack Bolton in the "High School Musical" films.

Produced by Bryce Fillmore, written and directed by Craig Clyde and backed by Halestorm Entertainment, the story follows a mother who not only has been abandoned by her husband but is left penniless and homeless with two daughters and a stepson.

Martha Evans (played by Kristy Swanson of "Buffy The Vampire Slayer" fame) barely finds work at a sleepy rural diner, famous for its homemade root beer.

With her car broken down and bills piling up, it looks like it's going to be a bleak Christmas.

Edward Herrmann plays Les, the warm-hearted owner of the cafe. (Herrmann won an Emmy for his guest role on "The Practice.)

Tess Harper, (nominated for an Oscar for "Crimes of the Heart") is Trudy Willis, the kind friend and confidante who befriends Evans.

Thankfully, good-hearted people working behind the scenes ultimately make the little family's Christmas their happiest holiday when they dust off the old root beer recipe and turn things around.

If you watch …

What: "A Christmas Wish"

When: Nov. 20, 6 p.m., and various times during the Christmas season

Where: Hallmark Channel

Sharon Haddock is a professional writer with 35 years experience, 17 at the Deseret News. Her personal blog is at sharonhaddock.blogspot.com.. Email: haddoc@desnews.com

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