Gettysburg’s Return to the Big Screen
By Kenzie Smith, Staff Writer
Even as Christmas has come and gone, decorations still adorn the streets of Gettysburg. This is because Gettysburg is at the center of the filming of Bo Brinkman’s “A Gettysburg Christmas,” based on Craig Rupp’s book of the same title. The movie follows Hope as she tries to overcome heartache and deal with her family showing up at her apple farm during the Christmas season. The movie is not only being shot in Gettysburg, but it is also involving the community. Members of the town have been cast as extras, and even members of the college have been involved. Both theatre arts professor Christopher Kauffman ’92 and Nicole Parisi ’23 have played parts in the production process.
Before the filming of “A Gettysburg Christmas” began, Kauffman invited Brinkman to his acting class to speak with students. Brinkman attended two classes where he talked about his experiences in theater and film and provided feedback to scenes acted out by the students.
“The students loved him, and he wants to return to classes sometime soon,” Kauffman said.
Kauffman was invited to play a minor role in the film.
Kauffman spoke upon the impact this movie will have on the community.
“Being part of something larger than oneself in a storytelling endeavor can be a great community builder and can lift morale,” he said.
Parisi is another member of the college community who is involved in the film. She reached out to the production team of the movie, hoping to be cast as an extra or hired as an intern, but Parisi was delightfully surprised to be hired as a background production assistant.
“As a production assistant, I am working wherever they need me, whether that be shoveling fake snow, bringing coffee to set, or helping people with any strange matters that come to hand,” Parisi said. “Most specifically, I’ve been working with background actors to arrange their schedules, bring people in as needed, and assist them with anything they need while waiting to go to set.”
Parisi is thankful for this experience, as she plans to work in the entertainment industry after graduating, saying, “This job has taught me a lot about the process of filmmaking. No matter what happens, working as a production assistant is amazing for building skills for coordination in a group setting, public speaking, and working in a fast-paced environment.”
Even as Parisi finds herself frustrated and tired, the excitement of being involved in this project doesn’t diminish. “The days are long, and I often come home exhausted, but then the next day I wake up excited to do it all again,” Parisi said.
Parisi concluded with a piece of advice, saying, “Don’t be afraid to reach out or ask questions. If you want to do great work, you have to start by asking questions.”
Highlighting the Gettysburg community and having members of it involved in “A Gettysburg Christmas” was one of the main intentions of the film.
“We need another move in this town similar to what the movie ‘Gettysburg’ brought to our tourism for years following the film,” Producer Kris Webb explained.
Webb contacted Brinkman, and eventually the screenplay was being brought to life, all with the community in mind. Webb said, “We would like to send a Christmas card through this movie to the world that says, ‘Come experience the Gettysburg we know and love!’”
“A Gettysburg Christmas” plans to be released at the Majestic Theater just in time for Christmas festivities.
This article originally appeared on page 18 of the February 2023 edition of The Gettysburgian’s magazine.