Ahead of the premiere of Under the Christmas Tree on December 19th, we spoke to the Director of the film (and DGC Ontario’s Directors Caucus Rep!), Lisa Rose Snow, about why representation matters, feel-good movies that reflect the world we live in on-screen, her favourite holiday films, and more.
Tell us how you became involved with the production.
Lisa Rose Snow: Under the Christmas Tree came through my agent, who knew I would be so excited by the opportunity. And he was right! I fell in love as soon as I read the first outline and felt such a personal connection to the story. It felt so aligned with the kind of big-hearted stories I want to be telling. I interviewed for it over Zoom, then afterward felt like I hadn’t said all the things I wanted to say so sent a big email articulating all the reasons why I was the one for the job, then didn’t hear anything for a few weeks and softly agonized over why I had even sent the big email in the first place, as one does. I figured it was a no-go until I got the call a while later that I’d gotten the gig. We waited to see if the film would get the final greenlight from Lifetime, and when it did, we got to work!
While in recent years, Lifetime and other networks have been releasing more LGBTQ2IA+ holiday romance films, Under the Christmas Tree is Lifetime’s first holiday film featuring a romance between two women. How does it feel to see this representation in mainstream media, and why was it important to you as the Director to tell this story?
LRS: It feels amazing to be part of the team bringing this story to life for the mainstream media. The holiday movie-of-the-week format celebrates love and family, so it only makes sense to celebrate the love between two women. Queer love is beautiful and it’s all around us so let’s normalize seeing it on our screens. As a Director I was drawn to the joy and the magic coursing through the story and it made my little queer heart so excited and happy, and I hope that audiences feel the same. I’m thrilled that Lifetime is making content like this and hope to see them continue to create feel-good films that reflect the vast world we are living in.
Lifetime holiday films are a staple of the season, and often feature hardworking protagonists who find love and fulfillment by slowing down and appreciating the little things in life. Why do you think it’s important for LGBTQ2IA+ people to see themselves reflected in this kind of film?
LRS: Because LGBTQ2IA+ people can be hardworking protagonists who find love and fulfillment by slowing down and appreciating the little things in life, so it’s essential they be reflected in this kind of film! Representation matters, especially in anything that is a staple of the season, and these types of movies are often watched together by (multi-generational) families so should represent the different ways we love for all to see. It’s important that we have stories that reflect our lived experiences, and/or that inspire us to live more open-hearted and joyfully.
What’s your favourite holiday film?
LRS: That’s hard to say, but maybe a tie between Carol and Die Hard, and I love the old cartoons like the original How the Grinch Stole Christmas! and A Charlie Brown Christmas. Prepping for and then directing Under the Christmas Tree has made me feel way more festive as an adult than I’ve ever felt before. I’ve been watching so many holiday films and really just leaning into that holiday vibe!
What is your favourite thing about working in Toronto/Ontario?
LRS: We’ve got amazing crews and creatives here. It’s so awesome to connect with like-minded people and tell stories together. There’s a real community spirit that I find encouraging. I also think there are a lot of good opportunities here, and really interesting projects being made. Plus, there is a lot of good food in these parts, and you can’t go wrong with that.