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Monday, April 18, 2016

Interview Alert: Screenwriter Cara J. Russell (Have you seen her TV Movies?)

I am delighted to welcome to my site today, and share with you all, my exclusive interview on "It's a Wonderful Movie" with screenwriter Cara J. Russell!

In our discussion, Cara shares details on her UP and PixL original movies, as she gives an insight into the world of screenwriting and movie making, and some upcoming movie news, too!!!

I do hope all of you will enjoy our interview *chat* below...





image credit: Facebook
Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: First, please share with us, as a screenwriter, which Made-for-TV movies you have written?

Cara J. Russell: My first TV movie HEAVENLY MATCH starring Samaire Armstrong, Brendan Penny, & Letoya Luckett, based on the book "Heavens to Betsy" by Beth Patillo, aired in 2014 on the UP Network.

SECRET SUMMER staring Lindsey Shaw, Derek Theler, Chiara Aurelia, Emily Rose, Lucas Bryant, and Isaiah Washington premiered on April 2nd on PixL. It is currently airing on PixL (channel 338 on Dish) and can also be watched on YouTube Secret Summer with a subscription or a free 14 day trial.

image: Heavenly Match, via UP

Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: Please share a little of the plot/story behind your newest PixL premiere movie, “Secret Summer”.

Cara J. Russell: Derek Theler plays Uncle Jake, a nomadic writer who is estranged from his family. Jake is researching his latest book on Black Bart, an outlaw during the Gold Rush days, in the California mountains when a family emergency lands Jake's niece Hailey (Chiara Aurelia) and his nephew Noah (Max Page) stuck spending the summer with an uncle they barely know. New York city girl Rachel (Lindsey Shaw) is in town to appraise the local library, which is the heart of this mountain community. As Jake mends his family ties, he begins to fall for Rachel despite being on a mission to stop the library from being sold.

image: Secret Summer, via PixL

Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: Where do you find inspiration for your stories/characters?

Cara J. Russell: That is a great question! My family and friends provide inspiration, and every guy I've ever had a crush on ends up as a character too! People are fascinating; I always love hearing someone's story about who they are, and why they are who they are. I am a big reader; I love libraries, book stores and on-line news articles. It's also true that fact is stranger than fiction. My favorite news crime article (you can google it) that I've ever read was titled: "Ice Cream Truck Turf War: Sno Cone Joe stalked Mr. Ding-A-ling, N.Y. police say" That's a comedy movie right there. You can't make this stuff up!

image: Heavenly Match, via UP

Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: We would love to know a little behind the scenes… could you share how your stories became Made-for-TV movies?

Cara J. Russell: I am a long time Head Mentor for the Young Storytellers Foundation, a www.youngstorytellers.com/ a fantastic literacy program that teaches screenwriting to fourth and fifth graders in the LA city schools. One of my mentors one semester was the wonderful Libby Beers who is a producer. She brought me in as the writer for HEAVENLY MATCH. I have had the pleasure of continuing to work with Libby on my PixL movies as well. It is thanks to YSF and Libby that I am a produced screenwriter.

I met Chiara, Derek, Lindsey, and Max when I visited the SECRET SUMMER set last April. They couldn't have been nicer, and they all did such a fantastic job in this movie. It's a thrill for me as a writer to watch such talented actors act out my words and bring the characters that were in my head to life!

SECRET SUMMER screening party with stars
Chiara Aurelia and Derek Theler
and screenwriter Cara J. Russell
Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: What’s next? Do you have any news of upcoming movies, premiering on PixL or elsewhere, that you can share with us?

Cara J. Russell: I have a yet to be titled movie starring Adelaide Kane and Ben Hollingsworth that just wrapped, and one titled GROOMZILLA starring Darin Brooks and Elizabeth Rice, along with DeVaughn Nixon, Roland Kickinger, and Manny Streetz that just started filming. I'm not allowed to talk about those until they air on PixL but I had a blast writing the screenplays and can't wait to see the movies!

Additionally, I have an indie sports comedy about the first collegiate American football team in Wales called THE THUNDERERS that will be filming soon at Aberystwyth University in Wales, starring Cody Saintgnue from MTV'sTeen Wolf as the antagonist QB, produced & directed by Michael Capozzoli.

I am a producer on my indie drama LOVELAND which is also with producer/director Michael Capozzoli.

I also have a romantic comedy feature in development with Suzanne Todd's Team Todd. We are currently looking for an A list director, so if anyone is reading this... :-)

on the set pic: "Groomzilla" via Instagram

on the set pic: "Groomzilla" via Instagram

Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: What do you hope viewers will take away, today and in the future, from watching one of your movies?

Cara J. Russell: Another great question! I would hope that someone watching one of my movies felt entertained, inspired, educated, and a little bit less alone.

on the set pic: of Cara J. Russell's untitled movie

Net, It's a Wonderful Movie: Where can my readers find out more about you or your work?

Cara J. Russell: Twitter & IG @carajrussell and www.facebook.com/caralotproductions/

It's been wonderful chatting with you today, and thank you for supporting family movies and writers!

All the best! Cara

That's a wrap!


My thoughts exactly... I feel the very same, Cara! It has been wonderful talking with you, as well! Thank you for this lovely conversation and taking the time to have this *chat* with me for "It's a Wonderful Movie"!

(Thank you to my movie friend, Gina - for making this interview possible!)

I also appreciate, Cara... you sharing your upcoming movie Groomzilla and the *hints* on your new untitled movies! (whispering...) We'll keep the news hush, hush, but it sounds like you have great casting!

I'm sure many of my followers have enjoyed your original films and are looking forward to the new stories you have created!

God's blessings to you Cara... in your writing endeavors and movie journey!


Details on the PixL channel:

Many of Cara's movies mentioned above are currently shown on the PixL channel, which is currently available through Dish Network - Channel 388 (SD/HD) or Cablevision - Channel 139 (SD) or Channel 839 (HD). You can also watch PixL through their on-line YouTube channel for a small fee. Click here to check it out.

If you don't have the PixL channel - please ask for it!

PixL offers family movies 24-7 - commercial free, so this is definitely a channel you will want to request from your cable provider, for your family!



  1. This was a great read, but what is PixL?

    1. I added in some details about PixL at the end of this interview. Basically, it is a 24-7 - commercial free station that plays family movies! :)

  2. Net, enjoyed your reading interview above with Cara! She seems like a real down to earth person. I keep hearing how great this PixL station is with all the family movies they offer, but I have DirecTV and they don't offer it. What can I do?

    1. My suggestion is to contact DirecTV by phone or social media. If you Tweet them or send a message to them on Facebook then others will see it and that will generate more interest! Getting the word out is the best way to encourage DirecTV to get the channel. DISH has PixL TV - DirecTV should have it, too!

    2. For $1.99 a month you can have access to new movies posted on the Pixl Youtube account monthly.

  3. I watched Secret Summer with my husband and son. We liked it and now we'll look forward to your next movies Cara! Good Luck!

    1. Glad you and your family enjoyed Secret Summer! Looks like Cara has some fun movie projects coming soon!

  4. Great interview, Net! You always do a thorough job in peaking our interest in upcoming, inspiring movies by brilliant screenwriters. I'll be looking out for her films!!

  5. Love your movies, Cara! Keep 'me coming!

    1. that supposed to be, Keep 'em coming!

  6. I enjoyed reading your interview with Cara, Net, and this deeper look at the PixL station. Oh man do I want this station now! It reminds me of how much I love Hallmark at Christmas 24-7! Why can't we all have this channel? Plus they play so many older Hallmark movies. I am calling DirecTV and telling them I want this channel! Thanks Net for bringing it to my attention.

  7. Secret Summer is a cute movie, Cara. I caught it just the other day and had to know what happened next to Jake and his niece and nephew. Excellent story for families to view together.

  8. I have Pixl! It is good, but they play a lot of the same movies over and over, but I understand they have to since it's 24-7. It's also greAt being commercial free. Wish everyone could have PixL. All Hallmark movie fans would love it!

  9. Enjoyed this interview, Net. Great job at hosting this!

  10. For those of you who have PixL, are PixL movies as good as Hallmark movies?

    1. Just like Skyojedi, I've really enjoyed the PIXL movies - I watch them through the YouTube channel. While sometimes the leads are people I've never come across before, there are a lot of films where the actors and actresses have non-Hallmark hits and/or have been involved in other family-friendly films. If these movies showed up on HC or HMM, I definitely wouldn't know the difference in terms of quality. I plan to keep subscribing for a good long while.

    2. Larry Levinson who owns Pixl produces all the movies. Before he created this channel he used to distribute many of his movies through Hallmark. So you've probably seen alot of the ones in the back catalog. However the newer ones are strictly for Pixl and they're great. They've definitely been using alot of younger actors from shows on CW, ABC Family,etc so if you watch any of those you'll see alot of familiar faces. I'm enjoying their movies more than Hallmark at the moment because they're a little more fresh and though they both target families some of the ones on Pixl are ones teen and preteens would enjoy not just adults with kids.

  11. Short answer, yes! And actually, many PixL movies *are* Hallmark movies - they may run first on Hallmark, but they end up on PixL, which has a huge back catalog of Hallmark movies. PixL also does their own original movies that could easily be Hallmark movies; I've enjoyed all the ones I have watched. Not surprising, really, as Larry J. Levinson Productions makes the movies for both channels.

  12. I want to know the opening song in 'Can't buy my love' starring Adelaide Kane.Anyone knows the title of the song?


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