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December 8, 2012

Peabody filmmaker in L.A. looks forward to holiday at home

The last time Andrea Janakas was interviewed by a hometown paper, she was in the fifth grade, and had written an essay on the Eastman Gelatine Corporation.

“The topic was, ‘What are Peabody’s best attributes,’” Janakas said. “I was fascinated by (Eastman) because I lived up the street. When I discovered they made film and stuff, I wrote the essay and got invited to tour the facility.

“I got my picture in the Peabody Times, and was feeling like a celebrity for a day.”

Now, more than 20 years later, Janakas is again drawing attention for something she has written: the script of “Holly’s Holiday,” an original movie that will debut tonight on the Lifetime network at 8 p.m.

“It’s a story about an advertising executive who’s looking for perfect love, and she realizes there’s no such thing,” she said. “She’s viewing it through this mannequin who comes to life.”

The story, which Janakas created with her Light and Matter Films writing partner, Justine Cogan, draws inspiration from a 1987 film called “Mannequin,” which starred Andrew McCarthy.

“We’re big ’80s movie fans,” she said. “We wanted to give a wink to the campiness of it.”

The genders of the main characters have been reversed in “Holly’s Holiday,” where a male mannequin serves as the romantic interest.

But the biggest difference from the earlier film is in how the lead eventually finds true happiness.

“The cast is so terrific,” Janakas said. “They really pull this off well.”

The movie was made by Marvista Entertainment, a production company that regularly creates projects for the Lifetime network. They had liked an earlier script Janakas offered them and committed to “Holly’s Holiday” a year and a half ago.

“The process of selling something takes so long,” Janakas said. “Then when they’re about to make it, it’s so fast.”

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