A new Christmas movie on Netflix could lead Connecticutians to draw double conclusions. Noel’s Diary was filmed at RJ Julia Booksellers in Madison, the Griswold Inn in Essex, New Canaan City Hall, Manchester Memorial Hospital, and other Connecticut locations.
Noel’s Diary stars Justin Hartley of This Is Us, as well as James Remar, Bonnie Bedelia, Essence Atkins and Barrett Doss. It is available for viewing on Thanksgiving Day. The film based on the novel by Richard Paul Evans was directed by Charles Shyer, who directed Private Benjamin and The Parent Trap.
Andrew Gernhard, producer and founder of the film, has been making Christmas movies in Connecticut for about five years now. His Rocky Hill-based production company, Synthetic Cinema International, has also been making creature films since 2004.
“This is not your typical Christmas romance story. It happens at Christmas, not Christmas, which is at the forefront of history,” Gernhard said. “A lot of emotions. People will cry. It’s the year of the sad Christmas movie.”
The hospital scenes were filmed at the Manchester Memorial. Gernhard said that at the time of filming, only two hospitals in the state were closed due to COVID, which would have made filming possible. The other, Bristol Hospital, was booked for Call Me Jane, Sigourney Weaver’s abortion drama. So “Noel’s Diary” got Manchester.
An 8-year-old boy from Southington plays a small but key role in the plot. Baylen Belitz, a third-grader at Derinoska’s school, has been building a film career for several years. He had fun making Noel’s Diary.
“I should be in the tree. It was fun. The film was shot in the summer. Artificial snow everywhere. He smelled good, like cotton balls,” he said.
Next up for Belitz will be Mother Instinct with Anne Hathaway and Jessica Chastain. He portrays the son of Hathaway. Followed by “Here comes Yanni!” The drama tells the story of a little boy who lives next door to an elderly man with Alzheimer’s who falls in love with the child and his memory fades.
“This is my biggest role,” Belitz said.
Belitz’s other screen credits include a small role in WandaVision and Evil.
Belitz has to wait with the whole world to see Noel’s Diary. “They had a show in Los Angeles, but they didn’t invite the kids,” he said.
Susan Dunn can be contacted at [email protected].