In her first starring role in a feature film, Plant City native Charleene Closshey plays a rock star pulled from her Hollywood career to return to her roots on her family’s troubled tree farm.
To celebrate the film’s release, Closshey will return to her own Bay area roots for a special screening of “An Evergreen Christmas” on Thursday at the Tampa Theatre. She will be joined by her fiancé, writer/director Jeremy Culver, and his sister, co-writer Morgen Culver. The trio will introduce the film and answer questions after the screening.
“It’s a story about family, and we created it with family,” Closshey said of the film’s collaboration, which included her mother as a producer and many others who, if they weren’t relatives, they are “adopted family now.”
The film is not just another Christmas movie, she said. It’s about the trials and the joys families go through as they come together for the holiday season, with the movie taking place between Thanksgiving and Christmas Eve.
The return to Tampa is a welcomed homecoming for her, Closshey said. Though she’s spent much on the past seven years on the road, the Bay area is home base. And her heart belongs to Plant City.
“I feel very blessed to have grown up in a community that was just that: a community,” she said.
Closshey, a former Miss Tampa, is a violinist, singer and composer, in addition to her film and stage credits. A last-minute decision also gave her the opportunity to score the film, using a single microphone, her violin, a 24-key keyboard and her computer. A challenge with a fantastic outcome, she said.
Thursday’s screening also will include the music video for Closshey’s newly released single from the film, “My Tennessee Home,” which was shot in Hillsborough County and included about 100 local extras, she said. Many Bay-area locals also made the drive to Charlotte, N.C., to appear as extras in “An Evergreen Christmas,” she said.
The film, which also stars Robert Loggia and Naomi Judd, was released nationally Nov. 4 by Wal-Mart, iTunes, Amazon, DirecTV and other outlets. It premieres Dec. 21 on Netflix.
A portion of the DVD sales are being donated to The Spring, an organization that her family has long supported, she said.
The movie is all about connectedness, Closshey said.
“We’re really excited to share it.”
TBO.com producer Christopher Spata contributed to this report.