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Christmas in June? Some Chester residents got a taste of it this summer during the shooting of Moonlight and Mistletoe, a family film from David Giancola's Rutland-based Edgewood Studios that's destined for distribution by the Hallmark Channel. "High-tech, environmentally friendly artificial snow" made parts of town look wintry, according to a press release; digital effects made up the difference.

Burlington College Director of Film and Video Production Allan Nicholls was there - he played a supporting role in the flick as the lawyer friend of Tom Arnold's protagonist. (The plot concerns a small-town family theme park called Santaville that Arnold hopes to pass to his daughter, played by Candace Cameron Bure, best known as D.J. from "Full House.") "I kind of wanted to get back into acting again," says Nicholls, who worked on a slew of Robert Altman's films both behind and in front of the camera: He last appeared on the big screen in Tim Robbins' Cradle Will Rock.

Nicholls heard about Moonlight from former student John Iozzo, the film's location manager, who told producers, "I got this teacher; he'd be great for this role," he says. Then he "went down and auditioned like everybody else." The shoot itself was "quite wonderful," says Nicholls, who stayed at a B&B just steps from the locations. (Moonlight director Karen Arthur, an Emmy winner for The Locket with Vanessa Redgrave, resides nearby.) A bunch of Burlington College alums were involved, including Mike Turner, who did the snowy special effects.

Moonlight and Mistletoe premieres on Saturday, September 20, at 7 p.m. at the Paramount Theatre in Rutland. The $15 tickets will benefit the restored 1914 theater, where Executive Director Bruce Bouchard says he hopes to revive "the big-screen experience" with a possible upcoming film series.

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