New film features Leavenworth as Christmastown
Seattle film director Sue Corcoran found her perfect Christmastown on her way to a camping trip in Eastern Washington.
The Wenatchee World
WENATCHEE — A few days before shooting, Sue Corcoran's "Christmastown" set was all mud. Leavenworth was soggy. The Enchantments area was bare.
The Seattle film director had two weeks in early March to shoot scenes for "All I Want is Christmas." The story is about Ira Finklestein, an 11-year-old Jewish boy who pulls a switch on his parents and sneaks off to Christmastown, a winter wonderland where he finds more adventure than he bargained for.
"Everyone we talked to — even George, the guy who runs the sleigh rides — said, 'You're not going to have any snow,' " Corcoran said. "I said, 'George, this movie is blessed, and we're going to have tons of snow. You'll see.' "
She planned to make do with cotton batting, tight camera angles and machine-made snow from Mission Ridge ski hill. But then, a day after the crews arrived, it started snowing — really dumping — and didn't stop.
"The movie was saved," she said. "Everyone was excited. It was like magic."
"All I Want is Christmas" was planned as a low-budget independent film, and Corcoran needed a "Christmastown." The original plan to fly a crew to Vermont was expensive. Corcoran had never heard of Leavenworth during her 15 years in the Northwest. She came across the town on her way to a family camping trip in Eastern Washington.
"As we drove past, I said 'Wait a minute, that's it!' " she said.
Chamber of Commerce Director Nancy Smith said the film crew was easy to accommodate. Leavenworth had everything they asked for — sleigh rides, crazy Christmas hats, gingerbread houses.
The film went on to win several awards this year, including "Best Comedy Feature" at the International Family Film Festival and a Best of Fest "Feature Audience Award" at the Seattle International Film Festival.