Sarasota CEO crafts a Hallmark Christmas film from an ‘American Idol’ winner’s song
A couple of familiar names will be found in the opening credits of the Hallmark Movies & Mysteries channel film “Five More Minutes” when it premieres at 10 p.m. Saturday.
Andy Sandberg, artistic director and CEO of the Hermitage Artist Retreat, wrote the film with Jamie Pachino. Sandberg said he was hired by the film’s producers to create a movie loosely based on and inspired by a song from 2011 “American Idol” champion and country singer Scotty McCreery, who is an executive producer of the film.
Sandberg, who started the project before he joined the Hermitage staff in January 2020, said the song “is not specifically about the holidays, but it deals with loss, hope and families and the obstacles to get past loss.” The holidays became an extra character as the script developed and all the meaning behind this time of year, he said.
“Scotty’s song and his subsequent music video deals with the loss of a grandparent and the relationship of multigenerational families. That was an inspiration, to explore that loss and wishing we had just a little more time with those special people in our lives,” he said.
The film, which is part of the network’s “Miracles of Christmas” programming event, stars Nikki DeLoach and David Haydn-Jones. Hallmark said that DeLoach plays the granddaughter of the longtime owner of the Candy Cane Confectionary shop. Facing her first Christmas without him, she wishes for just five minutes more and deals with some unexpected surprises, including the discovery of pages from her grandfather’s journal.
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DeLoach was part of “The Mickey Mouse Club” revival cast with Justin Timberlake, Britney Spears, Christina Aguilera and Ryan Gosling. She later starred in the MTV series “Awkward” and has appeared in numerous primetime dramas. Haydn-Jones has starred in the Hallmark films “Bridal Wave, “A Cookie Cutter Christmas” and Hallmark Movies & Mysteries Christmas film, “A Bramble House Christmas.
“Five More Minutes” is his first television screenplay, and he said there are others in the works that he can’t yet discuss.
Sandberg said that theater and film may have different technical challenges but “both have similar principals of storytelling. There’s a beginning, middle and an end and they’re driven by character and narrative.”
After the Saturday night premiere the film will be shown several more times during the season.