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Santa Camp directed by Nick Sweeney
Santa Camp directed by Nick Sweeney (HBO)

Directed by Nick Sweeney (“AKA Jane Roe”), the documentary film Santa Camp will have its world premiere at DOC NYC – America’s largest documentary festival, and then debut on HBO Max in November.

Every summer, a horde of professional Santas, Mrs. Clauses and elves descend on a campsite in the New Hampshire woods to learn the tricks of their trade. But this year is different. The organizers, members of the one-hundred strong New England Santa Society, have decided to tackle a complicated and historic problem – the lack of diversity in the Santa industry. They decide to enlist a Black Santa named Chris, a Santa with a disability named Fin, and a transgender Santa named Levi, each with their own surprising Santa origin story. Meanwhile, the Mrs. Claus delegation, led by veteran Dianne, is becoming more outspoken in its calls for equal billing and pay. The arrival of the new Santas sparks a reckoning about what it means to embody the beloved role model and cultural icon. After graduation, the Clauses draw on their camp experiences to affect change in their communities. But they soon learn that not everybody is ready for Santas who “break the mold.”

Nick Sweeney, director and producer, commented “This film was a joy to make. I learned that being Santa is not easy, especially when you’re not a cookie-cutter Claus. Documenting the inspiring way our protagonists overcame the challenges thrown their way proved to me that being Santa is about what’s in your heart, and that there’s room for everyone in one of the world’s most popular traditions.”

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