Eileen Davidson, Annika Noelle and Josh Swickard Tapped for New Holiday Film

Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R), Annika Noelle (Hope, B&B) and Josh Swickard (Chase, GH) have been tapped for a new holiday film. Learn more here--->>


Continuing what has become a holiday tradition, it was revealed today that “A Wine Country Christmas” will be the seventh Christmas movie from Ali Afshar’s ESX Productions, following Netflix hits “A California Christmas,” “A California Christmas: City Lights,” and “I Believe in Santa” and the popular HBO Max films “A Hollywood Christmas,” “A Christmas Mystery,” and “Holiday Harmony.”

“A Wine Country Christmas” stars Josh Swickard (“A California Christmas” series, “General Hospital”), Sol Rodriguez (“Grachi”), Eileen Davison (“Days of Our Lives,” “The Young and The Restless”), Omar Gooding (“Deadwood, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac”), Carly Jibson (“The Guest Book,” “Atypical”), Annika Noelle (“Love’s Christmas Journey”), Julian Rangal (“The Good Doctor”), and newcomer Carlos Solòrzano.

Alex Ranarivelo is directing the film with Ali Afshar, Christina Moore, and Daniel Aspromonte producing. Charley DeBenedetti serves as the executive producer with a script from Cecília Franco and David Zanardi.

In “A Wine Country Christmas,” a young widow struggles to keep the local vineyard from falling into the wrong hands while raising her two young boys, but she may be in store for a Christmas miracle when she falls for the world’s worst “carpenter.”

Valentina (Sol Rodriguez) is a young widow struggling with building a career and raising her two boys in a small California town. Carter (Josh Swickard) is a big city playboy always looking for the next good time while running from any responsibility. When his mother finally tires of the act and sends Carter to wine country to get intel on a prospective vineyard for sale, Carter finds himself in Valentina’s rental apartment for the holidays, trading a place to stay for handiwork. He hides from Valentina, the real reason he is there, while growing closer with her two sons. As the holidays approach, Carter finds what he thought was a temporary banishment from his gilded kingdom may be the place he doesn’t want to leave, while Valentina learns that her heart may have room for love again. But when Carter’s secret is exposed, it may take a Christmas miracle to keep this new family together.

Principal photography is currently underway in Southern California. The film is expected to be released during the holiday season 2023. Warner Bros. is handling distribution of the film via the studio’s licensing department.

Producer Ali Afshar said, “Consistent demand requires consistent supply and when it comes to Christmas movies, we have a formula that works extremely well and delivers stories that audiences love. Making holiday movies is fun, and we have a dependable group of collaborators who understand our process and creative thinking. We’re so excited to have such an amazing cast for ‘A Wine Country Christmas’ bringing this uplifting story to life. For audiences, it’ll be another warm holiday with a wine country feel.”

About the Cast:

Josh Swickard made his television debut as a recurring guest star on the Disney Channel shows “Liv and Maddie” and “K.C Undercover”. He starred in his first feature film “Roped”, an ESX production, followed by the Netflix hit “A California Christmas” and its sequel “A California Christmas: City Lights.” Josh has starred on ABC's “General Hospital” as Detective Harrison Chase since 2018. In 2022 Josh starred in the HBOMax release of “A Hollywood Christmas.”

Sol Rodriguez is an Argentinian/Uruguayan actress of Italian descent. Born in Buenos Aires Argentina, she moved to Miami for her first TV gig on Nickelodeon Latin America, where she landed a starring role in the original production of “Grachi.” She did three seasons with a total of 205 episodes, and the show was number one in ratings in most Latin American countries, Asia and Europe during its run. She starred in the musical tour during the second and third season, “Grachi: El Show en Vivo,” that had a run across Mexico. Sol was nominated for Nickelodeon’s Kids' Choice Awards Mexico for Best Supporting Actress and Kids' Choice Awards Argentina for Best Newcomer. She has worked on several series for Telemundo NBC, Univision and Venevision before crossing over to the American market. Sol has worked on shows including “Devious Maids”, “NCIS,” “Party Of Five” and “Star Trek: Picard.”

Eileen Davison is an actress, author, television personality and former model. Davidson is best known for her roles in soap operas as Kristen DiMera and Susan Banks on NBC's “Days of Our Lives” and Ashley Abbott on CBS's “The Young and the Restless” and “The Bold and the Beautiful.” In 2014, Davidson was awarded a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series for her role in “Days of Our Lives.” She was the second actress to win a Daytime Emmy Award in the category of Lead Actress for the soap, and in 2018 she won the award again for her role on “The Young and the Restless.” Davidson also starred in the film “The House on Sorority Row” (1983), had a leading role in the short-lived CBS crime series “Broken Badges” (1990–91), and has written a number of mystery novels. In 2014, Davidson joined the cast of Bravo reality television series “The Real Housewives of Beverly Hills,” appearing full-time on the program until 2017.

Omar Gooding is best known for appearing in hit television shows such as “Deadwood, Unsolved: The Murders of Tupac” and the “Notorious B.I.G.,” “Family Time,” “Barbershop,” “Hangin' With Mr. Cooper,” “Playmakers,” “Smart Guy,” and “Wild & Crazy Kids.” On the big screen, he received critical acclaim for his role as Sweetpea in the Paramount feature film “Baby Boy” directed by the late John Singleton. In addition to his successful acting career, Omar has also excelled as a producer, writer, and hip-hop artist releasing his first solo album under the moniker Big O, and touring the country in the smash musical “Redemption of a Dogg” which chronicled the life of hip hop icon Snoop Dogg.

Carly Jibson can be seen on seasons one and two of “The Guest Book” on Hulu, season two of “One Mississippi” (Tig Notaro & Diablo Cody) on Amazon and on Netflix's “Atypical.” She can also be seen on E! Entertainment's “The Funny Dance Show” as a celebrity contestant. She has starred on Broadway in “Cry Baby” where she originated the role of Pepper Walker, and on Broadway and in national tours of “Hairspray” as Tracy Turnblad. Carly starred in “Regional Theatre: World Premier of Johnny Baseball,” World Premier of Andrew Lippa's “Asphalt Beach” and the World Premier of “Crash Nation.” She co-starred in The Unauthorized Parody Musical of “SCREAM” at The Rockwell with Sarah Hyland. Carly released her Debut EP Best of Me, which can be found on iTunes and on the Original Broadway Cast Album of Cry Baby.

Annika Noelle studied acting at UCLA. In 2011 she starred in “Love's Christmas Journey,” played Sami Nelson in the series “Venice: The Series,” and was featured in the music video Howlin' for You by The Black Keys directed by Chris Marrs Piliero. In 2014 worked in Jersey Boys directed by Clint Eastwood, where she sang a live version of A Sunday Kind of Love. In 2015, she had a recurring role in “Chasing Life” and played the role of Melissa Jennings in the film “Evan's Crime.” In 2017 she played the role of Aubrey in the film “True to the Game.” Since 2018 Annika has played Hope Logan in the soap opera “The Bold and the Beautiful,” a role which earned her Daytime Emmy Awards for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Drama Series.

Born Julian Emmanuel Rangel, Julian was signed by a New York modeling agency in 2020. Julian branched out into acting a year later and began taking roles in local and major television ads. In 2022, Julian landed a guest-star role as Lucho in the ABC hit television series, “The Good Doctor.”

ESX is proud to introduce Carlos Solòrzano in his debut role as Santi in “A Wine Country Christmas.”

Director Alex Ranarivelo is a prolific visual and collaborative storyteller raised on Sergio Leone and Star Wars. He graduated at the top of his class with a B.F.A in film production from Art Center College of Design. Alex has a longstanding relationship with ESX entertainment, having directed the company's first film ‘Born To Race,” and many films since then in a wide variety of genres, one of the most notable being “American Wrestler,” an inspirational sports drama that explores issues of immigration and xenophobia about a 17- year-old Iranian refugee who defies adversity and becomes the high school wrestling champion during the Iran hostage crisis of 1980. The film stars Jon Voight, William Fichtner and garnered multiple Best Film and Best Actor awards on the festival circuit. Alex's work has led to projects for the major streamers, including “The Ride,” starring Chris 'Ludacris' Bridges and Sasha Alexander, for Amazon. It's the inspiring true story of extreme sports legend John Buultjens, who escaped an abusive white supremacist upbringing to forge a better life through the love of his interracial foster parents. Most recently, Alex directed “I Believe in Santa” for Netflix, and two films for HBO Max, “A Hollywood Christmas,” which playfully deconstructs the Christmas rom-com, and “A Christmas Mystery,” a Goonies-style kids adventure story that takes place during Christmas.

Producer Ali Afshar is a race car driver/actor turned producer who was born in Iran and raised in Petaluma, California. As President of ESX Entertainment and Motorsports, Ali raced for Subaru of America, winning 18 NHRA Championships and 2 World championships. After over a decade of acting, Ali turned his focus behind the camera and produced his first film, appropriately titled “Born to Race.” From its inception, ESX Entertainment has proudly produced films with heart, inspired by the “American Dream”, leading with diversity and under-dog themes all while making audiences “shed a tear but leave with a smile.” ESX has produced over 22 films including the award-winning film based on his life, “American Wrestler: The Wizard” starring Oscar winner Jon Voight and William Fichtner. Ali utilized his resources and went into producing what may have been the first film in California during the Covid crisis, a holiday film called “A California Christmas,” which ultimately became a huge hit on Netflix when it was released in 2020, becoming the #1 film worldwide on Netflix for nearly 2 weeks. This success led ESX to produce five additional holiday films for Netflix and HBO MAX! Ali has recently launched Lila Lane Pictures with a focus on bigger productions and theatrical films.

Producer Christina Moore is a true multi-hyphenate who has successfully built a career as an actor, writer, and producer over her 20-year career. She has starred in more than 80 television shows and films and has produced ten films in the last seven years. Moore is best known for her work as a sketch comedian in “MadTV” (FOX), as Laurie Forman in “That 70s Show” (FOX), as Butterfly in “Without a Paddle” (Paramount), as Tracy Clark in the re-make of “90210” (CW), as Christina Ross in “Jessie” (Disney Channel) and as Mandi Heiser in TNT’s hit series “CLAWS.” She has also starred on such hit shows as “Friends,” “True Blood,” “Mom,” “Last Man Standing,” “Two and a Half Men,” “Will & Grace” & “24.”

In December 2022, Moore released two holiday movies worldwide. “I Believe in Santa,” which she produced and stars in, was released on Netflix and quickly became the #2 movie globally on Netflix with over 32 million viewing hours. “A Hollywood Christmas,” which she developed and produced, was released on HBO Max and rapidly became the #1 movie on HBO Max. In summer 2022, she released the film “That’s Amor” on Netflix, which became the #2 movie in the US and #3 globally in its first two weeks on Netflix, garnering over 30 million viewing hours. Representation is extremely important to Moore, which is why her films have diverse casts and characters of all backgrounds, religions, and sexual orientations.

In 2015, Moore began her work behind the camera when she co-wrote and produced the film “Running Wild,” starring Sharon Stone. The film graced the festival circuit and debuted with a small theatrical release. Emboldened by this, Moore helmed a creative team that worked tirelessly to creatively develop and produce ten more films over the next seven years. Her focus lays on excellent story-telling and high production value while creating a nurturing environment for young talent to emerge. The films have homes on Netflix, HBO Max and Amazon Prime. Moore has also ventured into the world of event series in which she is the female lead and a co-producer.

Executive Producer Charley DeBenedetti is a passionate entrepreneur who runs her family ranch in Idaho and professionally competes in equine “Cutting Horses” on a national level across the United States. Charley has appeared in several feature films including “Running Wild,” “Dirt,” “American Fighter,” “Roped” and 2022’s “I Believe In Santa.” Charley’s entrepreneurial spirit soon led her to the production side of filmmaking, joining the ESX Entertainment team as a co-producer on the Netflix hits “California Christmas: City Lights” and “I Believe in Santa.”


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Soap Opera News: Eileen Davidson, Annika Noelle and Josh Swickard Tapped for New Holiday Film
Eileen Davidson, Annika Noelle and Josh Swickard Tapped for New Holiday Film
Eileen Davidson (Ashley, Y&R), Annika Noelle (Hope, B&B) and Josh Swickard (Chase, GH) have been tapped for a new holiday film. Learn more here--->>
Soap Opera News
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