KENNEBUNK, Maine — If you’re looking for a new holiday movie with an authentic hometown feel, you’ll find it in the newly released “Holly Star” an independent Maine Christmas movie with scenes shot at the Waterhouse Center in downtown Kennebunk, and in downtown Biddeford and Saco.
Written and directed by Maine-based filmmaker Michael A. Nickles and co-produced by Kennebunk’s Erik Van Wyck, “Holly Star” tells the story of Sloan Kelly, a broke puppeteer who returns to her small town for Christmas, only to get caught up in a mysterious treasure hunt with her paintball-obsessed best friend, her tango-dancing grandmother, and a childhood sweetheart.
The release of the movie on Dec. 4 on all major streaming, rental and download platforms has created a buzz in the local communities where filming took place in York County. Residents remember the filming, and recognize the businesses showcased and local scenes throughout the movie.
The film will have a special limited three-day holiday showing on the big screen at City Theater in Biddeford at 7 p.m. on Friday, Dec. 20 and Saturday, Dec. 21 and at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Sunday Dec. 22. Following the Saturday evening showing, the cast and crew will be available for a question and answer session on stage at City Theater, starting around 8:30 p.m. Tickets are $7.50 for the matinee showtimes, and $8.50 for the evening shows. All seating is general admission.
Starring Katlyn Carlson, Brian Muller, and Teya Patt, filming started in 2016 in Biddeford, and scenes were also shot in Saco, Kennebunk, Old Orchard Beach and Portland.
Waterhouse Center was the star of the show in late December, 2016 for a skating scene with the two main characters.
The downtown open-air skating pavilion was decked out in extra holiday cheer for filming on a very cold night just before Christmas in 2016.
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Christmas lights were wrapped around the poles and draped along the railings, and a white Christmas tree adorned with red ornaments was center ice. Local “extras” skated around the ice as the director called “and action” and the two main characters entered the ice.
Temps dipped into the low 20s during shooting, but that didn’t deter local skaters of all ages from a chance at making it into the movie.
Nickles said the towns of Saco, Biddeford and Kennebunk, where most of the scenes were filmed, were “gracious in an unusual way.”
“It only works with the community on board and involved and supportive, and we’ve had that everywhere we’ve been,” he said following the shoot at Waterhouse Center in 2016. “It’s been a great experience. We’re very thankful.”
“The film is rated PG, and a great night of holiday fun for the whole family,” said Van Wyck.