The Hallmark Channel, a popular American global television network, recently aired two movies shot in Fiji, “A Summer to Remember” and “Pearl in Paradise”, as part of their Summer Nights movies series. The two movies were shot in locations along the Coral Coast at the Shangri-La Fijian Resort & Spa, Warwick Fiji, Navua River, Natadola Beach and Sigatoka.
Combined, the two summer movies premiered with over 4.3 million viewers tuning in to watch Hallmark fan favorites, Catherine Bell and Cameron Mathison (A Summer To Remember) and Jill Wagner and Kristoffer Polaha (Pearl in Paradise). As impressive as these viewership figures are for cable TV in the USA, they do not include those that will watch the re-runs of the movies, those that watched the films online or via other media mediums.
When speaking to the Hallmark Channel USA in a recent interview, Jill Wagner, the former host for “Wipeout” and former cast member for MTV’s “Punk’d”, described her experience in Fiji as incredible. The lead actress of “Pearl in Paradise” said “You’re surrounded by tropical paradise. More than that, the people were phenomenal, they were so humble and kind and generous and loving. I really, really loved the people and that was my favorite part of Fiji.”
Filmed in May and June 2018, both productions used over 500 local crew. They also made use of the talent we have locally with several local actors given speaking roles in the individual movies. One of these actors was Matt Young, a Fiji based Actor who played Dr. Bailey in “A Summer to Remember” and Ben Watson in “Pearl in Paradise”.
When asked about his experience with the Hallmark Channel and how he felt this would help the local acting industry, he said “The family vibe and values of the Hallmark brand made Fiji the perfect location and fit for these films. The network stars were hard working and humble, and the fan engagement from the USA on social media with these movies was incredible! From the Kula Awards, to independent films, to US television productions, Fijian actors are finally getting their chance to be noticed. The productions were able to find some of Fiji’s best trained actors, as well as first-timers, who will continue to grow the sector in the future.”
Other local actors and actresses in credited roles included Wame Valentine, Ateca Ravuvu, Ashmita Kant, Ema Erayasi and Savaira Taukeinikoro.
Film Fiji CEO, Mr. Dallas Foon said, “Film Fiji is extremely happy to have hosted two Hallmark movies here this year. Hallmark embodies traditional family values, something that we in Fiji can appreciate and relate to. Fiji was engrained into the story and was on show for a worldwide audience.”
“The huge Hallmark fan base and social media activity for the two movies very much put Fiji in the spotlight as one of the most desired places to visit for the fans.” Added Mr. Foon.
About “A Summer to Remember”
Jessica Tucker (Catherine Bell), a widow and successful doctor, is trying to juggle work and family when she learns she’s up for the top job at the hospital. For a well-deserved vacation, Jessica books a stay at a resort in Fiji so she and her daughter can disconnect and bond. During her stay, Jessica strikes up a friendship with Will (Cameron Mathison), the charming owner of the resort. As Jessica and Will spend more time together, she begins to relax and starts to wonder if this island paradise can give her the life – and love – she’s always hoped for.
About “Pearl in Paradise”
The story follows Alex (Jill Wagner), a rising travel photographer angling for a creative director promotion at a travel magazine, who teams up with a Romancing the Stone-type novelist, Colin (Kristoffer Polaha), on a quest to chase down a rare blue pearl in Fiji for a 30th anniversary cover story that will cement her new job. They adventure through the jungle together hoping to find the pearl, and maybe finding something else more valuable in the process.