Every holiday season, there seem to be more and more LGBTQ holiday films, and this year is no exception. In addition to Netflix’s Single All the Way, Lifetime’s Under the Christmas Tree, and Hallmark’s Every Time A Bell Rings, Tello Films will debut Christmas at the Ranch on December 1.
You might remember Tello Films from some of its previous queer holiday films, including Season of Love and I Hate New Year’s. This year’s follow-up brings together actresses Laur Allen from Season of Love and Amanda Righetti (The Mentalist). Christmas at the Ranch also features original music from Dia Frampton and Dominique Provost-Chalkley, whose music was featured in Tello’s other LGBTQ holiday films.
Filmed outside of Nashville, Christmas at the Ranch follows Haley (Laur Allen) as she returns home to try and save her family’s ranch from bankruptcy. On her way back home, she goes out with Kate (Amanda Righetti) after talking to her on a dating app, and let’s just say their first date does not go well. When Haley returns home to her grandmother (Lindsay Wagner) and brother, Charles (Archie Kao), she finds out that Kate is her family’s ranch hand.
Co-writer, director, and producer Christin Baker says that making Season of Love and I Hate New Year’s really influenced her take on Christmas at the Ranch. “I learned a lot from those two movies,” explains Baker. “The first thing was that I really wanted to shoot it in Nashville. Shooting I Hate New Year’s in Nashville was a great experience and I wanted to do that again.”
Yet Baker also wanted to differentiate the three films. “Both Season of Love and I Hate New Year’s had a very city feel to them,” says Baker. “So shooting in the country where we could use great drone shots and have farm animals was fantastic and very different from the other two.”
Though the location of the film stood out from Baker’s earlier holiday films, her use of rom-com tropes remained. Like other rom-coms, Haley and Kate clash with each other at the beginning of the film, only to realize they like each other. In addition, in classic rom-com fashion, Baker puts the two lead characters in awkward situations like when Haley and Kate are forced to share a bed in the middle of a snowstorm.
These cheesy rom-com aspects were part of what Baker set out to do with this film. “Making Christmas at the Ranch, I really wanted to create another fun holiday film for the community that is a fun cheesy holiday rom-com,” says Baker. “There are so many holiday rom-coms for people who are straight and there’s a reason the genre is so popular. So to be able to have three queer holiday rom-coms in the last three years makes me so happy.”
And it doesn’t appear that Baker is stopping anytime soon. When asked about the chance for another holiday rom-com next year, Baker explained that Tello Films did a pitch to for a production contest, and she’d love to produce one of the winners of that contest called Merry and Gay, which won alongside Season of Love and Christmas at the Ranch.
“I would love to make Merry and Gay for holiday 2022,” says Baker. “If Christmas at the Ranch does well or if Lifetime, Hallmark, Netflix or any other networks want a super cute LGBTQ holiday movie with female leads, call me!”