UPtv, Super Channel acquire Breakthrough, Vast Entertainment holiday films
By Amber Dowling
The three original holiday romances will head to TV screens later this year as the prodcos continue their strategic partnership with a new content model.
Toronto-based production/distributor Breakthrough Entertainment and L.A.’s Vast Entertainment have announced the sale of three new romantic holiday movies that were crafted under their previously announced strategic partnership.
According to the company, Mistletoe and Molly (pictured), Christmas Beneath the Stars and Secret Santa will all air later this year on Canada’s Super Channel, while UPtv has also acquired the first two films for premiere in the U.S. in 2021. The movies are part of a new content model the prodcos also announced this week, in which they are soliciting more scripts from storytellers. The companies revealed there’s an appetite for branded content by known authors, in particular in the holiday romance genre.
That content model is just one piece of the ongoing partnership, as the companies continue to develop additional projects including a series adaptation of William Monk Mysteries, based on U.K. writer Anne Perry’s 24-title book series. All three of the incoming holiday films are executive produced and directed by Vast Entertainment CEO Lane Shefter Bishop. Craig McGillivray, Ira Levy and Michael McGuigan from Breakthrough also executive produce. Mistletoe and Molly is based on Jennifer Snow’s romance novel of the same name and features a script adapted by Snow and Joshua Roach. Eden Broda plays the title character, who will do anything to avoid spending the holidays with her family until a handsome PR consultant, played by Zach Smadu, intervenes. Miljoy Entertainment also executive produces.
Christmas Beneath the Stars is based on the book by Melissa Hill with a screenplay by Montreal’s Isabel Dréan. The story revolves around a nature photographer assigned to capture the beauty of the Northern Lights. However when she arrives at her Alaskan destination the resort is nothing like she pictured.
Secret Santa was also written and created by Dréan. Paul Lepore, Marian Lepore and Andrew Bishop are additional executive producers on the project.
“We are thrilled to continue building our relationship with Vast Entertainment, working together to feed the insatiable appetite for films of this genre,” Breakthrough’s Craig McGillivray, VP, distribution, said in a release. “Our partnership with Vast Entertainment allows us to provide a continuous offering of high-quality holiday romance TV movies.”
“Our partnership with Breakthrough is opening the door for both our companies to tell these stories to audiences around the world,” added Bishop. “Whether we’re bringing words to screen through books or original screenplays, our relationship allows us to pool our resources and incredible expertise to form a production powerhouse in this space.”
The prodcos first announced their partnership in April 2019. At the time the goal was to produce and direct between six to eight TV MOWs – spanning romantic holiday films to female-led thrillers – over the next 18 months, with Breakthrough heading international distribution.