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Yes, Christmas is about family, but Kix Brooks has taken it to a new level with his holiday film, A Country Christmas. His son, Eric, who studied film at Nashville’s Vanderbilt University, co-wrote the movie with Dustin Rikert and William Shockley (Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman) around the Brooks family’s kitchen table. But as the family film went to production, Kix also enlisted the help of daughter Molly.
“She’s working for a comic book company in New York City and doing a lot of freelance illustration work,” he tells Country Weekly. “She actually did the illustrations for the opening credits of the movie. Cheap labor.”
The movie tells the story of an embittered senator (Kevin Pollack) who wishes to dispel the notion of the existence of Santa Claus. As people cease to believe in the jolly old elf, he loses his magical powers and eventually finds himself stranded on an Arizona ranch, unable to navigate the portal that returns him to the North Pole. The children that discover him in their barn then launch a campaign to debate the politician, thus regaining the public’s faith in the magical legend of St. Nick and returning his power and Christmas.
But Kix didn’t stop at his immediate family to put the “country” in A Country Christmas. Trace Adkins and Rascal Flatts’ Jay DeMarcus also appear in the film, and Jay also worked on the soundtrack. Trace is cast as Sherriff Arrington (a tip of the hat to Kix’s Arrington Vinyards?) and Jay is Chim Ritchels, who works at the fictitious Hope, Ariz., TV news station.
Kix himself voices Duke the horse, but he worked mostly behind the scenes, helping with editing and production as well as the soundtrack. “Being on the screen in this movie really wasn't a priority for me,” he says. “It’s really about the kid actors in this movie. They’re amazing.”
In the future, Kix hopes to tap into the country music community again for film work. “Kind of as a blueprint for what I would like to do with the projects we have in the works is use sort of a formula of contining to incorporate country music celebrities along with well-known Hollywood actors,” he explains. “They really like working together and it’s always kind of been that way. On the country music side of things, we’ve always wanted to play in Hollywood and they tend to move over here and want to make records from time to time. It’s a great combo.”
A Country Christmas is available on DVD at Walmart.