A Christmas Snow is a touching film set at Christmas time. Catherine Mary Stewart plays a woman still in deep pain over her father’s abandonment of the family one Christmas when she was a little girl. She ends up snowed in with a motherless young girl and a homeless man with a secret (Muse Watson). Tracy Trost, the film’s writer/director, answered my questions about the movie’s themes and the importance of inspiring stories for families.
What is the hardest part of forgiveness?
I think for most people the thought of forgiving another can many times make them feel like they are lost. It’s almost as if there is a standoff and if you extend forgiveness, the person you are forgiving will win and you will lose. The truth of the matter is that forgiveness leads to peace in one’s life. If you carry around unforgiveness and hold in bitterness it becomes a way of life and you start to look for the bad in any situation and you close yourself off from others. In doing so you really limit who you could be, or who you should be. For me the hardest part of forgiveness is taking the chance that you might get hurt again. But without taking those chances you never really learn how to live life to its fullest.
Why was the story of Simeon so important to Sam?
Simeon did not see the Christ child until his last days. His faith carried him up until that point and once he saw the child his life was complete and he was willing to leave this Earth and be with his Creator. In many ways Sam was the same. He went through life not knowing the truth and in his last days he saw his Savior. At that point he came to a sense of Peace. Being able to share this story with his daughter was the same as looking into the babies eyes. Once he did that he was ready to go.
How did having to return to the pleasures of a simpler time affect the characters in the movie?
In today’s world we have filled our lives with so many things that we do not have a moment to reflect. As a child I only had 5 TV channels to choose from and we did not have the internet or cell phones. Life was much simpler then and you spent more time together as a family. Just being together and working on crafts or talking. When the snow storm hits they are forced into a situation where they do not have all of the gadgets to take up their time and occupy their thoughts. They are forced to communicate as people and in doing so they are able to work through some issues that they were dealing with. Without going back to the simpler way of life they would have abided their time together and then split up and gone on with their lives. I think it is a good practice for all of us to turn off all of the electronics and communicate on a regular basis.
Were s’mores and “Break the Ice” taken from your own childhood memories? Do they have symbolic value in the story?
Yes, both were a part of my childhood. I wouldn’t say they were symbolic other than triggers to memories of the past for our characters.
How did you find Cameron ten Napel and what was it that made you realize she was right for the part?
We did casting calls in several cities and online. The Casting Directors had set up a session in Dallas for me. Over all through the entire process I think I saw about 200 kids. When we did the session in Dallas on a Saturday I think we saw about 40 kids. Cameron was the 5th or 6th kid I saw. I knew there was something special about her from the moment I met her. She could pop in and out of character with little effort. She took direction and applied it without blinking an eye. After my session with her I found myself comparing every other actor to her. She is an extreme talent and I know she will be a household name in no time. I consider myself a better person knowing her and her family.
Why is it important to have spiritual themes in movies?
I think movies are the most influential form of communication in today’s world. People love movies. They love to escape reality for a while and get lost in a story. I have no issues with those who make movies for the sake of entertainment only. For me, there has to be more to it. I believe if I have your attention for an hour and a half I have a responsibility to leave you with something that is of value. Something that you can apply to your life and hopefully learn and grow from. My movies have a purpose to them other than entertainment. It is the purpose to affect those who watch them in a positive way. My goal would be that those who watch one of my movies would see life just a little bit differently afterwards. That they might want to make a change in their life that would bring a positive outcome. I love telling stories. I love touching people’s hearts. I love introducing people to a different way of thinking.
What are the stories that have most inspired you?
For me I love to read about people who overcome. People that have had something happen to them where others would write them off and then they invent something or do something that changes the world around them. Seeing the human spirit rise above circumstances and overcoming obstacles is what it is all about for me. I love to read about history and see how the small acts of everyday people can change the world. We all have the ability within us to make a difference. The question is will we do it.
What do you want families to know about this movie?
At Trost Moving Pictures we take family seriously, which is why we say we are, “Putting the Family Back In Family Movies.” This movie will entertain and inspire people of all ages. I have gotten letters from 6 year olds as well as 80 year olds. “A Christmas Snow” is one of those stories that people can relate to and enjoy watching. It also inspires you to be more than you are and be willing to take a chance on letting go of a past hurt and forgiving. Forgiveness is the key to peace in life. “A Christmas Snow” shows how this is true. If you are open, it can show you how to change your life for the better.