There's a fine line between family-oriented films and "for-all-ages" films. Both labels are often a red flag as often as a drawing card to TV viewers. For Hallmark, "for-all-ages" films have consistently drawn high ratings - with their appeal factor attracting kids and adults alike. Hallmark plans to screen films involving viewers from all ages from October 21 at 9 p.m. These films will invite adults to watch with the kids - and to engage them in discussion that can fortify everyone's viewing experience.
Typical of that genre is Walter And Henry, premiering on 21st October at 9pm on Hallmark. The film stars John Larroquette as a New York street musician raising his 12-year old son until events place the lad in the custody of his acerbic grandfather (James Coburn) and aunt (Kate Nelligan), leading to a reunion among the three generations.
Hallmark has built its foundation by focusing almost exclusively on producing for-all-ages films. "Making films with themes interesting and relevant to all family members is a difficult proposition – especially if you want to keep all them glued to the TV screen at the same time," says Terence Yau, Vice President and Managing Director, Crown Media International Inc.
Holding on to our convictions and values has given us a unique platform, one that has helped us win many awards." Some Hallmark movies explore the question, 'What makes a family?' In Out Sons, airing on Hallmark on 25th October at 9:00 pm, Julie Andrews plays a businesswoman and self-styled liberal whose open-mindedness is put to the test when she discovers that her son (Hugh Grant) is homosexual.
This revelation brings Andrews in reluctant contact with Ann-Margaret, who plays a brash cocktail waitress whose own son (Zeijko Ivanek) is Grant's lover. The occasion for the meeting between both mothers is the discovery that one of their sons has AIDS.
Films like this, while throwing sticky problems at their young protagonists, also help them find their way toward growth and tolerance. "Sometimes, we make light of difficult problems in stories drawn from the pages of literature and fairytales," says Yau. "It's our way of finding a balance, in keeping everyone entertained, while giving our viewers some food for thought."
On 27th and 28th October, Hallmark will premiere two movies packaged as a stunt - Storybook Scandals: Snow White and Prince Charming, both perennial fairy tale favourites, refashioned so that they appeal to grown-ups and children alike.
Next month on Hallmark, films like Joshua's Heart, Redwood Curtain, Reunion and A Season Of Hope are guaranteed to reward family members with provocative subject matter that cut across all social barriers. These films will also invite adults to watch with the kids - and to engage them in discussion that can fortify everyone's viewing experience.