The holiday season is not just about twinkling lights, gift-wrapped surprises, and joyful carols. It’s also the time for heartwarming holiday movies that bring families together and sprinkle a bit of magic into our lives. In a recent exclusive Holiday Movie Panel, industry experts shared insights, challenges, and triumphs from their experiences in producing some of your favorite festive films.

1. Tracy Twinkie Bryd: A Maestro of Casting and Production

At the forefront of the discussion was Tracy Twinkie Bryd, a casting director and executive producer, known for her work on projects like “Jumping the Broom” and “Being Mary Jane.” Tracy emphasized her goal of creating films with a captivating flow, employing a nine-act structure for made-for-TV movies. Her expertise lies in finding writers who can seamlessly craft stories within this framework, keeping audiences on the edge of their seats.

One intriguing highlight was her night-before-Christmas-themed posters, adding a touch of holiday magic to the production process.

2. Overcoming Racial Challenges in the Filming Industry

The panel also addressed the racial challenges faced on set, particularly in locations like Ottawa, Canada. The discussion shed light on the experiences of upper-middle-class Black women and the importance of representation.

3. Lenore’s Unique Experience in Ottawa

Lenorore shared her unique experience as a writer in Ottawa, emphasizing the importance of being a fly on the wall to truly understand the dynamics of the industry. Her perspective highlighted the need for acknowledging different experiences within the Black community.

4. Behind the Scenes: Making of Holiday Classics

Insider stories from the sets included freezing lips, unexpected blizzards in August, and the challenges of shooting in Atlanta. From Black Santas to festive gnomes, the panelists provided a peek into the creative process that brings holiday magic to the screen.

5. Creating and Financing: Pierre’s Insights

Pierre, with his experience in the independent space, spoke about the challenges of selling projects with an all-Black cast. However, he found support within the BET community, emphasizing the importance of collaboration and mutual support in the industry.

6. Crafting Compelling Scripts: Insights from Bridgettte Stephens

Bridgettte Stephens delved into the art of writing a musical, offering practical advice on selling scripts and collaborating on projects. Her insights shed light on the intricate process of pitching and bringing stories to life.

7. The EP’s Perspective: What Are They Looking For?

The conversation turned to what casting directors like Tracy Twinkie Bryd look for in scripts. Tracy emphasized the importance of a compelling flow, character-driven narratives, and a breakthrough that takes characters from where they start to where they end up.

8. Building Networks and Community: The Essence of Black Filmmaking

The panelists stressed the significance of building networks within the Black filmmaking community. From Black venture capital firms to supporting organizations like Black Girls Do Mafia, the call to action was clear: empower each other, build an ecosystem, and be a part of the movement.

In a world that’s constantly evolving, these industry leaders offer a glimpse into the challenges, triumphs, and community-driven spirit that makes the holiday movie magic possible. The Holiday Movie Panel is not just a discussion; it’s a celebration of diversity, creativity, and the power of storytelling in film. So, as you cozy up with your loved ones to watch your favorite holiday films, remember the hard work, dedication, and passion that goes into making those moments truly magical.