Entertainment

Penticton's Jim Cressman brings country stars to TV

A film with a star-studded Canadian country musician cast and ties directly to a Penticton man will make its TV debut this Friday.

After a busy year that saw Penticton’s Jim Cressman, president of Invictus Entertainment, win a Canadian Country Music Award, he is ready to slow down and take a breather for the holidays. It is what he hopes to be doing on Friday when the film he executive produced called Coming Home For Christmas takes the spotlight on CMT.

“I wanted to create a holiday-special movie that was family friendly that would work really well and align well with the brand of Canadian country music artists that I happen to manage and work with who also act,” said Cressman.

The film predominately features Invictus Entertainment managed artists George Canyon, Aaron Pritchett, Britt and Carly McKillip (One More Girl) and Jordan McIntosh. Cressman found a script, made some alterations and created roles for some of his artists then structured it around a deal with CMT. The concept came to Cressman about 10 months ago, the film was shot in March and April then production was completed in late October to be pressed and ready for sale in November and ready for its TV debut in December.

The premise of the movie surrounds sisters Kate (Carly McKillip) and Melanie (Britt McKillip) who haven’t spoken to each other in years since a hurtful scene at Melanie’s wedding. Their parents, Wendy (Amy Jo Johnson) and Al (George Canyon), have let the pain of their daughters’ absence drive a wedge between them and their tensions have led to a separation. Kate is determined to reunite the entire family for Christmas and has the perfect spot, their old family home. The only problem is there’s someone else living there now.

The McKillip sisters already cut their teeth in the acting world. Carly is know for her title role in the TV series Alice I Think while Britt played a role in Showtime original series Dead Like Me. Canyon also is comfortable on screen having played on the TV series Heartland, Trailer Park Boys and has a role in the upcoming Superman blockbuster Man Of Steel. Cressman said Pritchett and McIntosh have acted before but not at this level and looked like naturals. The film is set in Oregon but was shot between locations in Whistler and Maple Ridge.

Coming Home For Christmas has been available for purchase at WalMart through an exclusive deal with the cable network the movie is licensed with. Music tracks from the movie are also available for download on iTunes.

“We have had really positive feedback from the fans who have consumed the DVD and sales have been through the roof. I was joking with a friend the other day that I may make or produce another movie down the road that is a little bit more mainstream appeal, but I may never make one that makes as much money as this one because it is such a family-friendly film and holiday films have a built-in audience and resurge every year and people can re-watch them,” said Cressman.

The Invictus Entertainment producer is juggling a lot of roles these days. Besides managing talent, handling dates and tours with the likes of Motley Crue, Brad Paisley and others, Cressman also launched Big Star Recordings with Universal Music Canada. He and his wife also welcomed their second daughter into their family in November.

“It definitely has been a busy year. Professionally it has been a real year of positive transition and breakthroughs and I’m excited to see what 2014 holds,” said Cressman, who has four shows currently on sale at the SOEC including the Barenaked Ladies, Kenny Rogers, the Steve Miller Band and Florida Georgia Line. “I’m really happy to continue to do what we can do to grow the arts scene locally and nationally with our various concert and entertainment related enterprises.”

Those wanting to tune in on Friday to watch Coming Home For Christmas are urged to check their local listings for exact times.

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