“A Match Made at Christmas” is a family affair. Coeur d’Alene’s Annie Poling Swet directed and co-wrote the romantic comedy with her sister, Lizzie Poling. Her brother, Josiah Poling, edited the film, and their sister, Rachel Jordan, produced the project that was inspired by the beginning of their parents’ – Barbie and Tim – relationship.
“The story is loosely based on how our parents met,” Jordan said from her Coeur d’Alene home. “We wanted to write something that was comedic, had a lot of heart and reality to it. A lot of Christmas movies are full of fluff and lack substance. We had to have substance in our film.” “A Match Made at Christmas,” which will screen Dec. 8 at Hayden Cinema, is a clever, heartwarming and uplifting film.
The movie is akin to a Hallmark film but with some grit. The beauty of Coeur d’Alene is captured with shots of the lake and the center of town. “We wanted to film in Coeur d’Alene since we’re all here,” Poling Swet said. “We have families here, and it just made it way easier, and we know and love the community.”
The house in which Micah Hanson, who stars as Holly, who yearns to meet the love of her life, performs in was owned by her childhood best friend. “So I knew the home well,” Hanson said by phone from New Mexico. “That home is so special to me and just everything about the film I enjoyed. It’s such a cute script.
“The whole experience was tremendous. I grew up in Coeur d’Alene, and it was great to be back in the area. I was living elsewhere over the years (Los Angeles, Atlanta), and I enjoyed being back where I grew up working long hours with wonderful people.”
Like the members of the Poling family, Hanson, 31, was home schooled. While coming of age in North Idaho, the Poling kids – Rachel Jordan, 29, Annie Poling Swet, 26, Josiah Poling, 24, and Lizzie Poling, 22 – made time after completing homework to focus on their passion: watching and creating movies.
“I always loved seeing films, and my younger siblings have been making short films since they were 12,” Jordan said. “My parents supported the desire to make movies. We would get cameras and lighting equipment. My parents’ schedules were open, and so they helped us get to where we needed to be as movie makers.”
Jordan recalls being inspired by romantic comedies such as “27 Dresses” and “While You Were Sleeping” and action flicks such as “Mission Impossible.” “I love ‘While You Were Sleeping’ because it’s real,” Jordan said. “It makes me cry. I can feel her (the protagonist) struggling about wanting a family, of falling in love.”
So Jordan produced a love letter to love during the holiday season. “We’re not huge Christmas movie fans, but we knew we could write something reminiscent of what we grew up watching from the ’90s,” Jordan said.
Jordan and her family hope to continue shooting feature-length films in their hometown.
“We would like to make more movies in Coeur d’Alene,” Jordan said. “We would love to stay as close to home as possible to be able to do things right here. We would rather make movies here as opposed to Hollywood or Atlanta. There’s so much natural beauty in the area. We can make movies here. We proved it by making ‘A Match Made at Christmas.’ ”
Jordan’s parents would like nothing more than to create additional cinematic productions in their backyard. “Our mother and father would love to see us work close to home,” Jordan said. “It works out for us since they’re our built-in babysitters for their grandchildren (Jordan’s daughter, Emily, 3 and Annie’s pair, Annie, 2, and Benjamin, who is a newborn).
“They also love our film. So hopefully we’ll be able to make more films here. We would love to produce more original content and tell our own story.” Expect Jordan and company to experiment with other genres. “We would like to branch out into action and adventure and fantasy. But the common denominator is that we want to create positive stories with heart and a message.”
If you go: “A Match Made at Christmas” screens Wednesday at Hayden Cinema, 300 W. Centa Drive, Hayden. Tickets are $8. Show time is 7 p.m. For more information, call (208) 215-2060 and go to hdgmovies.com.
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