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Niagara Falls aerial view credit and ©2024 Hallmark Media // photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group.
Niagara Falls aerial view credit and ©2024 Hallmark Media // photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group.

New Hallmark Channel film shines spotlight on Niagara Falls

by jmaloni
Tue, Apr 23rd 2024 11:55 am

Behind the Screens with Joshua Maloni


The Hallmark Channel creates movies in picturesque locations around the world, treating viewers to magnificent bodies of water, sprawling beaches, lush green space, massive mountains, striking foliage – and, just recently, Niagara Falls.

Last October, the family-centric network teamed with Johnson Production Group to film “Falling in Love in Niagara.” The story centers on Madeline (Jocelyn Hudon), a rigidly scheduled accountant whose somewhat-smothered fiancé leaves her just weeks before their wedding; and Mike (Dan Jeannotte), an impulsive singer/songwriter and skater, who was also dumped by a supposed true love.

Still stinging from her breakup, Madeline decides to go ahead with her previously planned honeymoon to Niagara Falls – the place where her grandparents completed their courtship. Upon arrival, she has a rocky start with Mike – whom, unbeknownst to Madeline – is the tour guide.

As the two begrudgingly get to know each other, they soon find their opposites attract – and, when it comes to love, they can learn a thing or two from each other. Maddie learns to let go, and to embrace life, while Mike becomes more mature, and reignites his passion to perform.

For the stars of “Falling in Love in Niagara,” the film shoot offered more than screen time.

“It's not often that I get to work on something where I also get, as part of my paid job, I get to go to beautiful places and go on wild adventures,” Jeannotte said. “It was amazing to get to be in Niagara; and to get to do all these fun, like daredevilish kind of adventure games was great.”

An adventurous Dan Jeannotte ziplines in the Hallmark Channel’s new “Spring into Love” presentation “Falling in Love in Niagara.” (Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media // Photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group)


Hudon, Jeannotte, their castmates and crew members visited attractions including Zipline to the Falls, Niagara City Cruises, and Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours.

“I used to run a zipline in Algonquin Park, so those things, to me, are fun,” Hudon said. “And the jet boat was really cool, too. That was really fun to film in, because we got to go with the crew. So, seeing the DP (cinematographer) get completely, completely soaked; and we had all these little GoPros; and we had to cut in line, in front of like real passengers on the boat, to get our whole crew in the front of the boat to be able to film those shots. That was pretty funny, and definitely like a bonding experience for all of us (laughs).”

Whirlpool Jet Boat Tours President John Kinney said, “We always put the actors in a place in the boat that they’re going to be seen from the various points that we're always shooting video from. And you always know that, if you’ve shot an hour of video, probably 30 seconds to two minutes will actually be aired. You sometimes wonder why they've chosen the clips that they chose, but that's their thing, not ours. We were very pleased that something that is seen, obviously, all across North America, profiled us in a pretty significant way.”

Kinney has taken film teams across the Niagara River from both Lewiston and Niagara-on-the-Lake WJBT docks. He explained, “We shoot a lot of these things, and you never know which ones are going to make it to the air and which ones aren't.”

“Anything that gives coverage to Niagara is obviously something that we welcome,” he explained. "… We thought that it profiled us in a positive light, and at the start of a tourism season always like that.”

Though “Falling in Love in Niagara” was filmed on the Canadian side of the shared “Wonder of the World,” the movie often displayed New York's Niagara Falls State Park, Prospect Park, the Top of the Falls Restaurant and Seneca Niagara Resort & Casino.

Jocelyn Hudon portrays Madeline in “Falling in Love in Niagara.” (Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media // Photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group)

Dan Jeannotte plays Mike in “Falling in Love in Niagara.” (Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media // Photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group)


Jeannotte said, “There's so much natural beauty in that area. Obviously, the showstopper is the falls; but then you've got the beautiful vineyards – the wineries nearby – which is a whole other kind of beauty, and a whole other cultural sort of a touchstone. We also filmed in a winery.

“The falls themselves are an area that have a lot of stories attached to the falls – romantic stories, the idea of getting married there, going on a honeymoon there – that's all part of the appeal, or the idea, of the Niagara Region. And I just think that there's a lot of ways to kind of play around with that, to both lean into it, and to kind of show another side of it, too. Because, obviously, there’s more to the Niagara Region than just people getting married. There's culture there, and there's great people.

“The people that we met there were wonderful. In the various locations that we went to, everyone was super-helpful, super-excited to have a film shoot happening there.

“I think it’s cool that Niagara is an area that is shared by both countries. It's like an iconic place that is both Canadian and American; and I think that there's something special about that.”

Hudon said the filing process “was easy.”

“It's really nice,” she added. “It's not too busy. It’s not too crazy. It was a good time. There are a lot of things to see and do there, so you're never bored. It's a cool place to film and work. The crew was very happy to be there. It was a good time.”

“Falling in Love in Niagara” is airing on the Hallmark Channel and available to stream on Hallmark Movies Now and Peacock.

Jocelyn Hudon as Madeline and Dan Jeannotte as Mike in “Falling in Love in Niagara" on the Hallmark Channel (Credit: ©2024 Hallmark Media // Photographer: Courtesy of Johnson Production Group)


See also >> Good from the get-go: Jocelyn Hudon impresses in 'Chicago Fire' debut

See also >> Q&A: Dan Jeannotte has adventure filming 'Falling in Love in Niagara'


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