Each family has its own Christmas traditions. Some search for the perfect tree, others bake cookies together and still others walk through neighborhoods singing carols.
For the Croteau family of Southold, a new Christmas tradition will likely form this year with the release of the feature film “Wish for Christmas,” which includes 22-year-old Ivy Croteau among its cast members.
The film explores the holiday’s true meaning, seen through the eyes of a high school student named Anna. Ms. Croteau plays Anna’s best friend, Rachel, a “mean girl” who’s more concerned with school dances than with understanding the real significance of Christmas, the actress explained.
“Rachel was fun to play,” Ms. Croteau said. “She’s always got a wisecrack on hand and she’s got a killer sense of style.”
The film, which did not receive a theatrical release, will be available on DVD this fall and is also expected to stream on both Netflix and Amazon, she said.
The film was shot last fall in the greater Boston area and Ms. Croteau worked for a month alongside recognizable actors Joey Lawrence, Bill Engvall and Leigh-Allyn Baker.
“They were really nice and definitely took the time to talk to us about getting into the industry,” she said, adding that her favorite part of the experience was the relationships she formed. “I learned so much, but these are relationships that I’m going to have for the rest of my career. They have a really special place in my heart because this was my first movie.”
But this wasn’t her first professional experience since graduating from Smith College last year. During the time she was scheduled to film in Boston, Ms. Croteau was simultaneously working on two short films in New York City, forcing her to learn to balance a busy schedule while remaining professional, she said.
Before “Wish for Christmas” came along, Ms. Croteau performed mostly on stage. She began dancing as a child and later got involved with the musical theatre program at Southold High School. From there she performed with the North Fork Community Theatre until she left for college, where she began to pursue acting on a professional level.
“I don’t think I had much of a choice,” she said, when it came to declaring her major. “[Acting] is my greatest passion. I’ve known I wanted to do it for the past 12 or 13 years.”
With her first feature film now under her belt, Ms. Croteau isn’t slowing down. In fact, she has numerous upcoming projects scheduled for later this year.
In an interview last week, she said she’d recently signed on as a cast member for the second season of an Amazon series, the name of which she could not reveal. This spring, she said, she will also make her off-Broadway debut playing a young Madonna in “Painted Virgin.”
“It’s not easy coming from a small town and believing you can make these strides into an industry that is international,” Ms. Croteau said. “It’s a daunting task. I hope to keep pursuing this career and be an example for any small-town kid that loves doing this enough to give it a go.”
Image credit: Ivy Croteau courtesy photos