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    Local filmmaker directs new Christmas-themed movie

    Sarah Fischer in “The Spruces and the Pines.”
    Seacia Pavao
    Sarah Fischer in “The Spruces and the Pines.”

    It wouldn’t feel like the holidays without a Christmas-themed romantic comedy to mark the occasion.

    John Stimpson, a local filmmaker originally from Wellesley who now lives in Princeton and works out of Worcester, directed “The Spruces and the Pines,” set to premiere Sunday at 9 p.m. on the ION Network. The film is about a young couple, played by Jonna Walsh (“Baby Daddy”) and Nick Ballard (“Too Close to Home”), from long-feuding families who own rival Christmas tree farms in the same neighborhood, and their effort to mend fences and preserve their romance.

    The film was shot in various locations around Central Mass., and at two local Christmas tree farms: D.J. Hussey Farm in Townsend and Mistletoe Christmas Tree Farm in Stow. A number of local actors also appear in the film, including Tom Kemp, Ken Cheeseman, Kathy Harum, John MacGregor, and Sarah Fischer.

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    “The Spruces and the Pines” is Stimpson’s third Christmas-themed film, and the second holiday flick he’s sold to ION — the first being 2011’s “A Christmas Kiss,” which still airs regularly during the holidays and is available on Netflix. He’s also sold several films to Lifetime, including “The Wrong Car,” “Betrayed,” and “Sins of the Preacher.”

    “There’s something that’s so rewarding about making a movie that’s just meant to be heartwarming,” Stimpson said. “There’s something wonderful . . . about making a story that just brightens up people’s day.”