Carmel consultant promotes Christkindlmarkt to Hallmark for Christmas movie

As the Carmel Christkindlmarkt prepares to open for its third year, a Carmel promoter is pressing Hallmark to consider shooting a Christmas movie at the German market.

New York-based Rob DeRocker, who is paid up to $125,000 a year to promote Carmel to national and international media outlets and site consultants, told IBJ Carmel is becoming more telegenic and movie-genic and he feels the Christkindlmarkt, which opens to the public Saturday, would make a great backdrop for one of the beloved network’s Christmas movies.

But it could be a long shot.

Hallmark shoots most of its Christmas flicks in Canada, where it takes advantage of tax incentives not typically offered in the U.S., DeRocker said. But some have been filmed in quaint towns and cities in the U.S. Last year, an independent film maker used the Carmel market to portray an Austrian village

DeRocker has worked as a consultant for the city since 2010, helping to arrange meetings and interviews between Mayor Jim Brainard and reporters and site consultants. He bills the city about $10,000 a month for work that includes getting Carmel or Brainard mentioned in stories published by national and international media outlets, like the Wall Street Journal, Business Insider and the New York Times.

For the past few months, his monthly reports, which detail work he’s done or intends to do, have included “exploring” the possibility of the Christkindlmarkt becoming the setting for a Hallmark or other Christmas film in the future.

DeRocker told IBJ this week he recently made his pitch to someone who manages Hallmark communications and that he will continue to reach out to her.

He praised the Christkindlmarkt’s authenticity and said it’s continued to get better year after year. This year, the market was ranked No. 15 on Wide Open Country’s list of the 23 best German Christmas markets across the U.S. It was also recently mentioned in a travel-related story in the Chicago Tribune.

“It’s a longshot but worth a try,” DeRocker said of the movie idea. “I’m not giving up.”

“The worst they can say is ‘no,’ but they’re going to get a lot of communication from me before they say no.”

Carmel spokesman Dan McFeely said the city makes a concerted effort to leverage what it has built in Carmel to gain national recognition that can translate to economic development opportunities. That includes promoting the city’s roundabouts—which often get media attention—as well as the Center for the Performing Arts and the Christkindlmarkt.

“We believe the Christkindlmarkt is an ideal location to film a holiday movie,” he said.

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8 thoughts on “Carmel consultant promotes Christkindlmarkt to Hallmark for Christmas movie

  1. You better hope any potential location scouts looking at Carmel don’t stumble onto Zionsville. Though perhaps artificiality might be more appealing to a Hallmark production company.

  2. If only I knew Brainard’s actual birthday, this would be better. There’s a sucker born every October 1, 1954, in Bristol, Indiana. This Mordecai C. DeRocker character is living large in St. Croix.

  3. I’m guessing the no one in Carmel knows that Crown Media Holdings in Kansas City (which owns the Hallmark channel) prefers to produce the vast majority of its made-for-television programs in Canada, using Canadian crews and talents. During a road trip to. Montreal in August 2015, we stopped for the night in Hamilton, Ontario where our hotel was “dressed” in Christmas decorations for a film shoot taking place there. If not in Canada, CMH could easily find “telegenic” locations in and around their Kansas City base.

  4. Carmel is a nice suburb and a fine place to raise a family or operate a business, but it is not romantic, charming or unique.

    If Hallmark were to take the unusual step of shooting one of its TV movies in a location that lacks the tax incentives and film infrastructure of the more typical shooting locations, it would only do so to film at a location that has beauty and/or other unique qualities that cannot be replicated elsewhere. You shoot on location in Miami or San Francisco or Tuscany, or in pretty and authentic small towns like Port Townsend, Washington or Port Clyde, Maine. And, if Hallmark needed a Midwest setting and was considering locations in Indiana, they would look at authentic and lovely small towns like New Harmony, Madison, Spencer, Nashville, etc. And, if they were really keen on shooting in the northern suburbs of Indianapolis, they would surely choose filming in a genuine place like Zionsville over Carmel’s manufactured historical pastiche.