Skip to content

Talented dancers go for a Holiday Spin

West Vancouver's Mystique Films behind Made for TV Xmas project

Holiday Spin, starring Ralph Macchio and Allie Bertram, will air Friday, Dec. 21 at 9 p.m. on CTV and Tuesday, Dec. 25 at 7 p.m. on CTV Two.

DRAWING from the Dancing with the Stars and So You Think You Can Dance Canada talent pools a new film premiering just in time for the holidays, hopes to dance its way into the hearts of viewers for years to come.

Holiday Spin stars Ralph Macchio, known for his lead role in The Karate Kid franchise as well as My Cousin Vinny and The Outsiders. Macchio also made a splash in season 12 of Dancing with the Stars, which aired in spring 2011, coming in fourth after going head to head with Kirstie Alley, Hines Ward and Sugar Ray Leonard.

Macchio plays the lead in the film, that's hoped to become a Christmas favourite, and is joined by Vancouver-based Allie Bertram, runner-up in 2008's debut season of So You Think You Can Dance Canada. The movie premiered on the Lifetime network earlier this season and is set to air tonight at 9 p.m. on CTV and Dec. 25 on at 7 p.m. on CTV Two.

West Vancouver resident and veteran filmmaker Christian Bruyère encourages viewers to tune in.

"If anybody likes anything to do with dance, and if they watch Dancing with the Stars or So You Think You Can Dance - which are huge hits - then this is the movie for them because there's a lot of ballroom dancing in it. There's also a real touching story of father and son reconciliation.

There's also a Christmas theme to it too. I think they will be running it for 10 years," says Bruyère, who's credited as producer, executive producer, line producer and production manager on the project.

Bruyère is a partner in Mystique Films with his wife Mary Bissell, a West Vancouver native. Over the years they've produced a number of award-winning television programs and theatrical movies. In recent years, Bruyère, whose credits include Champions of the Wild, a long running series, has been focusing increasingly on TV movies, including for Lifetime and the Hallmark Channel. Bissell has been focusing on true-crime series as of late and she's currently working on her fourth season of The Devil You Know as series director.

"We both really believe that film and television is the best place to get any messages out there and get our feelings out there and really do something that's worthwhile and meaningful," says Bruyère, reached last week by phone from Indiana while on a research excursion with Bissell. "We enjoy doing meaningful programming and we've done a lot of documentaries together in Sri Lanka and various different places where they . . . do help quality of life."

Holiday Spin was an easy sell to Lifetime. "We knew that Lifetime wanted a Christmas movie and they were trying to shy away from mother as main topic," says Bruyère.The father-son-focused family reconciliation tale fit the bill.

"They liked it a lot. They green lit it and in record-breaking time we were in production," says Bruyère.

Holiday Spin follows estranged father and son, Ruben (Macchio) and Blake (Garrett Clayton), respectively, who are brought together following the death of Blake's mother in a car accident. Ruben is a down on his luck Miami dance teacher and Blake, 17, is intent on pursuing a promising mixed martial arts career. Blake's world gets further turned upside down when he meets Ruben's talented student, 18-year-old Pia (Bertram) who's focused on an upcoming ballroom dance contest set for Christmas Eve, in hopes of winning a $50,000 prize for Ruben's studio.

Also featured in the film is Benji Schwimmer, season two winner of the American version of So You Think You Can Dance, who plays Rob, Pia's initial dance competition partner.

Holiday Spin was shot in Abbotsford and Langley in June and July.

"They always do the Christmas movies in summer when there's no possibility of snow," laughs Bruyère.

He's extremely pleased with the casting, specifically Macchio, whom he felt would be the ideal father.

"I thought he would be perfect," says Bruyère. "He had the sensibility. He was really, really good with the young actors and just really giving."

Bertram, who "was just fabulous through the whole movie," also blew him away, along with one-to-watch Clayton.

"He's a new actor that has been working with Disney and Disney really likes him a lot," says Bruyère.

Clayton has been cast in Disney's Teen Beach Musical set for release in June 2013.

"It's going to be huge," says Bruyère.

While Holiday Spin was a more difficult project to film in light of the dance sequences, requiring the talents of a choreographer and additional rehearsing, Bruyère is pleased with the outcome.

"I think it's brilliant. I think everybody worked really well and the production value is fantastic," he says.

Holiday Spin was directed by Jon Rosenbaum and written by Albert Leon. An additional North Shore resident who was involved was director of photography/cinematographer Kamal Derkaoui, who lives in Deep Cove.