(Interview) Talking with screenwriter Melinda Doan Bryce regarding a ground-breaking Christmas movie

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No Lifetime or Hallmark Christmas movie has yet featured a same-sex central couple. With Jane and Sue in “A Holiday I Do,” filmmaker Alicia Schneider could make screen history.

This feature which started production in November and is due to wrap in April with a release in time for the 2022 holiday season was written by Michigan’s own Melinda Doan Bryce.   I was able to talk with Melinda regarding this production. 

Now, you are working on a project that has already received some local press. What is this? And how did you become involved with it?

Yes, I wrote a feature film called “A Holiday I Do,” which is an LGBTQ+ focused Christmas film with all the classic benchmarks of a feel-good Hallmark movie, only it centers around a gay lead, Jane, who falls in love with her ex-husband’s wedding planner, Sue.
I was on set of “Just Another Dream” with Kayden filming when Paul, the director, told me he and his wife Alicia had an idea that they wanted to run by me. We met up, they told me they wanted to make a Hallmark-style film for the queer community, and we started brainstorming ideas! It’s been an amazing collaboration and I couldn’t have asked for a better team to work with.
 
And so this idea was born. Paul had approached you with the idea. And being the screenwriter, you were off and running. How long did it take before you had completed at least a rough draft of this screenplay?
Oh gosh, from that initial conversation it was a couple of months until we formally met to brainstorm and then probably a couple of months until the first draft was done. Between the three of us, we made tweaks and changes and it evolved into a really wonderful story.
Now, perhaps, we should introduce Paul, and talk briefly about the success that he has experienced with the movie “Just Another Dream.”
Yes, “Just Another Dream” has been well received! It can be purchased as a DVD or can be viewed on Amazon Prime.  I also received quite a few laurels from festivals.

Your daughter, Kayden was the lead in this movie. It played the film festival circuit before it appeared on Amazon. She must be really excited to have had it be received so well. How did you feel about the movie?

I thought it was great! It was a family-friendly sci-fi story that had a fun twist at the end. The whole process, from casting to filming to premiere, was so well done and fun! Jennifer Franz, the writer, and producer, along with her husband Charlie, have become like family. The whole cast and crew, we couldn’t stop talking about the amazing energy on set. It was a phenomenal experience for everyone.
Will Kayden also appear in “A Holiday I Do”? If so, what part will she have?
She plays the role of Noelle Givens! She brings Christmas magic wherever she goes. The Givens family lives just up the road from Jane and the McSurely farm, and they’ve been family friends for a long time. They’re a Christian family that always has a smile, a kind word, and they’re absolutely hilarious. Mrs. Givens is played by Mandy Logsdon, who just made her film debut in Tennille T.’s film “If I Can’t Have You!”

Here’s a copy of the main cast list! We’ve got some amazing local talent involved, as well as fantastic actors from L.A., Chicago, and New York. Additional Michigan talent includes Tennille T., Calhoun Koenig, Alan Longstreet, Matt Santia, Colleen Gentry, and more!

One more little thing is that 10% of the proceeds of this film will benefit The Trevor Project, which works to help save young LGBTQ+ lives. It’s a project that digs deeper than entertainment for all of us involved. Although, anyone can watch the film and just have fun and be entertained like you would any Lifetime or Hallmark film (and trust me, with the crew we have – including Jackson Swan as DP plus a lot of names you’d recognize as some of the best in Michigan – it fits right in with some major budget Hollywood productions), there’s a human mission behind the business end of it.

For this, you have received much local attention. Already, newspapers and other media have covered what you are doing. So before it even wraps it is getting out there. In addition to writing the screenplay for this, are you also involved in its production in some other capacity?

…no I’m not really a producer but I have been on set helping in various capacities. But this is my first time as a writer on set really having the opportunity to work with the talent, answer questions, and do onset rewrites that really made the scenes that much stronger.
This is exciting. How far into production are you? And as yet, I realize this may be a little premature, is there are scheduled release date?

Sure! We have about four more film days that should take place in April. The film’s targeted release is Christmas season 2022, so this year!

Well, here’s wishing you, cast, and crew every success.

For more details regarding this movie,  although the Kickstarter campaign is now closed there is a wonderful outline of the movie here.
https://www.kickstarter.com/projects/1613751248/a-holiday-i-do-feature-film

“A Holiday I Do”  has already started to receive press.  Here is an article that has appeared pre-release.
https://www.thedailybeast.com/why-the-gay-christmas-movie-a-holiday-i-do-could-make-tv-history?ref=scroll&fbclid=IwAR3JRMQWuIBJjpaVLxr6FWItjdVlLViqazhdiMXOa6-6WOTyp5NFKR_s0T8

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