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‘A California Christmas,’ filmed in Petaluma, debuts on Netflix

Petaluman Ali Afshar took on the difficult task of producing a movie under California’s strict COVID safety measures.|

Last July, Petaluma filmmaker/racecar-driver and actor Ali Afshar, having produced over a dozen films in Petaluma, took on the difficult task of producing a movie under California’s strict COVID safety measures.

The movie, titled “A California Christmas,” debuts today on Netflix. The film, starring Lauren York Swickard (“Dear White People”) and her real-life husband Josh Swickard (“General Hospital”) — who actually fell for each other while filming Afshar’s “Roped” in Petaluma, a couple of years back — was among the first movie productions to take the leap into mid-pandemic production, and the results, based on the trailer recently released, certainly do make Petaluma look good.

The film, written by Lauren Swickard — about a wealthy business owner pretending to be a farmhand in order to trick a woman into selling her family ranch —is a love story with a decidedly “Hallmark Holiday Movie” feel to it, which means it could be very popular.

In addition to filming on Afshar’s own family ranch, a number of local locations (including Hotel Petaluma) will be obvious to local viewers, as will Afshar himself, who appears in the film as Leo. Not sure who Leo is yet, but it’s always fun to see the Casa Grande graduate on-screen.

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