Earlier this year, we wrote about The Bunny Lady, a movie filmed entirely in Michigan, directed by West Michigan native Tom Seidman, starring the beloved Florence Henderson. We recently heard that the movie has been renamed The Christmas Bunny, and will be showing at The Knickerbocker Theatre in Holland, Michigan, on December 21, 2010, in time for the Holidays.
The Christmas Bunny is a heartwarming story about a young foster girl named Julia Haggen who is staying with a new family for the Holidays when she finds an injured bunny. An eccentric Michigan farmwoman (Florence Henderson) becomes the caretaker of the bunny and brings him back to health. In the process, she’s nicknamed “the Bunny Lady.”
THE FILMING LOCATIONS
The Christmas Bunny was filmed earlier this year (in February and March) in several rural towns of West Michigan, including Lowell, Alto, Wyoming and Zeeland. The gorgeous snowy landscape of West Michigan makes the movie setting unforgettable.
The Christmas Bunny is Tom Seidman’s first directorial debut. With his years of experience working in television and as an assistant director for Peter Weir and Clint Eastwood, Seidman made this charming holiday independent film with a modest budget of $200,000. Being a Michigan native, making his first movie in West Michigan was “a homecoming” experience for Seidman.
“Half of the film was shot in a house in Wyoming (Michigan) ... that belongs to an old friend of mine whose wife is a folk artist,” Seidman stated. “It’s amazingly decorated. This film was written for that house.”
Of his famous star, Seidman said: “She doesn’t look anything like she does normally. She plays this crotchety old Michigan farm woman. It’s like nothing she’s done before. Casting her was a very fortunate stroke of luck for us. She signed on well before ‘Dancing With the Stars.’ Hopefully, that will help get the film a little more visibility.”
Henderson’s little co-star is 10-year-old Sophie Bolen, a young local actress who has never acted in a movie before. For a glimpse of this young actress in The Christmas Bunny, check out thisdemo clip. “Sophie fell out of heaven to be in my movie,” Seidman said. “She had a stillness about her that was extremely important for the character (Julia). The little girl is a foster child who refuses to talk to anybody, so 98 percent of the performance is not speaking. She’s amazing.”
The four-legged furry co-stars of the movie came from the Critter Barn in Zeeland. The West Michigan Search and Rescue also contributed to the production by lending the production their “personnel and expertise.”
The movie had its world premiere in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 28, 2010. Proceeds from the premiere went to two local organizations that generously helped during the making of the movie, the Critter Barn (an animal education center in Zeeland) and the West Michigan Search and Rescue (a volunteer organization helping to find people who are lost).
If you missed the sold-out world premiere of The Christmas Bunny, worry not! This special holiday independent film will be showing at The Knickerbocker Theatre on December 21, at 7 PM. TheCritter Barn is the organizer of this wonderful holiday event. To order tickets, click here.
For those of us who are not in Michigan, I’m not sure when or where we will be able to catch this lovely holiday film. It’s a small independent project and so screening is limited. Perhaps it will make its way to your local theaters. You never know!
FILMED IN MICHIGAN
For a list of movies and productions filmed in Michigan, visit the Michigan Film Office’s website.