PINETOP-LAKESIDE — Standing in front of a full house of moviegoers who turned out to see Hashtag Blessed the Movie at WME Village 8 theater last weekend, Dalea Faulkner, the film’s author, received hearty applause from the viewers. Her mother, filmmaker Martina Webster, who co-produced the movie, was at her side as she took a small bow at the stage.
“I was inspired to write it (Hashtag Blessed the Movie) by the movie, ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ Faulkner told the White Mountain Independent.. “I wanted to do a Christmas movie, but I wanted it more to reflect the struggles people have today — for instance, with social media, which can be both a positive and negative thing.”
Faulkner said her own life experiences also played into the movie, in which a teen girl discovers that her difficulties in life can be turned around by a change in attitude and reassessment of what matters most to her, in the long term.
The two female leads in the movie are 19-year-old Isabella Blake-Thomas, who plays teenager Jessi, and “Mama Char” as Grandma.
Faulkner has also written a book, The Christmas Witch, which is set in a magical place called Amberlight Valley; it can be ordered at www.daleafaulkner.com. The book’s heroine, Brigid Baelfyre, is trying to make Christmas special for herself and her mother after moving to the valley from Scotland following the death of her father. However, she soon discovers that she must partner with her middle-school nemesis, Morgan Asarligt, to break a spell that has been cast over the valley and which threatens to destroy Christmas for everyone.
Described as an author of “magic, whimsy and wonder,” Faulkner has in the works a series of stories from Amberlight Valley — which, in her mind, is a place not unlike the White Mountains.
“It’s a beautiful, almost secret place,” she said.
In her youth, Faulkner worked as a child actor, but writing, she said, is her first love.
She earned a degree in creative writing at California State University-San Bernardino, and plans to move permanently to the White Mountains from Colorado in the near future.
At, 34, Faulkner has a childlike enthusiasm and sense of playfulness, which serves her well as an author. She has been married to Brien Faulkner for 10 years, and has a 9-year-old son, Daen.