Fans of Hallmark’s annual “Countdown to Christmas” have an early present with the latest episode of the podcast.

Calgary-born director David Winning is the special guest and talks about his latest two offerings for the channel. The newest one is “The Nine Kittens of Christmas,” starring former Superman star Brandon Routh, Kimberley Sustad and Gregory Harrison. A sequel to the 2014 Hallmark movie “The Nine Lives of Christmas,” featuring the same cast, it premieres Nov. 25, Thanksgiving night on Hallmark Channel and Dec. 5 on W Network in Canada.

Already up and streaming on both channels is “You, Me & the Christmas Tree,” another holiday romp starring Danica McKellar, reunited with former Wonder Years co-star Jason Hervey, and Canadian actor Benjamin Ayres.

The two movies mark the 19th and 20th films Winning has directed for Hallmark in the past six years.

“It’s a great company to work for,” says Winning. “I get teased about it a lot but its really great to do family entertainment — the kind of movies families can sit around and watch together.”

That isn’t always the case with Winning’s work. He’s also directed planty of scary stuff, including episodes of Van Helsing, Todd and the Book of Pure Evil, Blood Ties and, going way back, Friday the 13th the Series.


He started shooting sahort films on Super 8 film as a teenager. His first thought was to save up for film school, but instead, at 22, he just decided to make his own feature.

“I kind of foced it into existence,” he says. “I was so naive.”

“I thought, what is a feature but five or six short films put together?” He pulled in some friends and shot a story of survival in the woods with bad guys in pursuit. Shot on 16mm film, Winning hustled it to festivals and eventually sold it as “Storm” to Cannon Films in the mid-’80s.

He’s been making movies and TV shows ever since. Listen as he shares stories of working with TV and film idols such as Bruce Dern, Valerie Harper and Tim Reid, as well as current Hallmark Queens Lacey Chabert and Danica McKellar. It’s all in the latest episode of the podcast.


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