The Surprising Reason Hallmark Likes To Film Movies In Canada

We all love the Hallmark Channel, but how is it possible that they make so many movies? Since 2009, The Hallmark Channel has produced 300 movies for its yearly "Countdown to Christmas" (via Forbes). While the holiday season is definitely Hallmark's time to shine, that excludes all the original movies it produced during the rest of the year.

The Hallmark Channel premiered a whopping 40 original holiday movies during 2021's "Countdown to Christmas" (via Taste of Home). Since this content is something the channel's known for, it's safe to say that we'll be seeing about that many when this holiday season rolls around, as well.

To produce that many original movies in a year, it's pretty clear that Hallmark's movie-making strategies make for a well-oiled machine. It's easy to wonder what their secret is. Well, it just might lie in the fact that they film most of their content in Canada (via Business Insider).

This may come as a surprise to some, because most Hallmark movies are definitely not set in Canada. Rather, they are often set in a U.S. city until the lead moves to a small town elsewhere in the U.S. Filming does, however, take place across the border, and this may be the key to how they make so many movies in so little time.

Why Hallmark films in Canada

If you're wondering what it is that coaxes Hallmark's production teams over to Canada, the answer is fairly simple: money. If you're planning on making 40 new movies every holiday season, your first step is ascertaining how to do so economically. Using production crews in Canada offers Hallmark benefits, as well as tax breaks (via Business Insider). 

To get the most out of the tax benefits for a film, Hallmark needs to use exclusively Canadian actors (via Vancouver Mag). This is one of the reasons why Hallmark may frequently pull from the same pool of actors. In fact, it's reportedly the norm for Hallmark actors in Vancouver to sign on to make six movies for the channel per year.

Vancouver is the most common filming location for the network, and since Hallmark considers snow a non-negotiable necessity for its holiday movies, Vancouver's climate only helps the process. Still, Hallmark films in Toronto and Montreal on occasion, as well.

Hallmark's other odd filming habits

There's a lot more than locking down a filming locale with a tax break that goes into pumping out dozens of movies a year (though, with numbers like that, it surely helps.)

For one thing, while we may see snow in every Hallmark Christmas movie, they can't have real snow on every film set. Some holiday movies even need to film during the summer (via Business Insider). According to Hallmark darling, Lacey Chabert, "I've gotten used to being really hot and sweating in my boots." Time is certainly money when it comes to making a Hallmark movie, which is exactly why snowy stories need to be filmed even in the summertime.

Furthermore, surely how long it takes to make a Hallmark movie has to be expedited compared to what would happen on a normal film set. In reality, it's typical for Hallmark movies to shoot in about fifteen days (via Vancouver Mag). Yes — that's just over two weeks to film an entire movie, and the process can get even more sped up than that. Lacey Chabert says that she once starred in a movie that premiered just four weeks after it was shot.

It's overwhelming just to think of all the work that has to go into producing as many films as Hallmark does and just how many people have lots of harsh deadlines to meet. One thing is certain, though: whatever they're doing is definitely working.