The Fort Belvoir community and several celebrity actors came together on Tuesday for an autograph signing and a special screening of a Hallmark Channel movie.The special screening of the movie, A Christmas Card, began with an autograph signing at the Post Exchange at 4:30 p.m."My husband is deployed in Afghanistan right now," said Andrea Garon, military spouse, as she finished getting autographs to send to her husband. "I wanted to surprise him."
Four actors from the movie signed autographs, including the seven-time Emmy Award winning actor Ed Asner."My main target was to give as rascally an approach as I could," said Asner of his performance in the movie. "I wanted to give [my character] more of an edge."The movie tells the story of a deployed Soldier in Afghanistan who receives a Christmas card addressed to "Any Soldier." During his rest and relaxation leave he goes to find the female writer of the card and he also finds love and a family."[This is] a nice way to tie [the movie] in with what is going on overseas," said co-star Alice Evans, who plays Faith, the writer of the Christmas card. "We thought the people at Fort Belvoir would understand that."After the autograph signing the cast and Fort Belvoir community members went to the newly renovated Wood Theater to watch the movie, which will be officially released on the Hallmark Channel on Saturday.The theater was filled with a large variety of Fort Belvoir community members."[The movie] was very well orchestrated for a romantic movie," said Sgt. Dustin Nestoff, information systems analyst operator at the Defense Information Systems Agency. "It puts the military in a loving, friendly way."Several children joined the crowd with their parents to watch the movie and eat popcorn."It was awesome, I enjoyed the whole thing," said Amanda Lugo, 11, who watched the movie with her mother.The Hallmark Channel flew in one couple from Michigan because of their similar encounter with a letter in 1954."I loved it," said Victoria Brandel, military spouse. "Some of the things were exactly what I experienced. You could feel the chemistry between the two [main characters]."Victoria and her husband Henry first began writing letters in 1954 when he was stationed in Korea. Victoria received his address from a friend and sent a letter and a self-portrait. They corresponded for a year before actually meeting in person.In 1955 Henry was transferred to Fort Leonard Wood, Mo., several hundred miles from Victoria's hometown of Drumright, Okla.Henry was in a July 4 parade in Drumright and when he finished he walked into the Dutch Mill CafAfA, where Victoria was working at the time as a waitress. When she saw him she dropped a tray of glasses and he helped pick them up.They have now been married for 51 years and have six sons, 10 grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren."He's my best friend," said Victoria with a smile on her face.The movie ended around 7:30 p.m. and all viewers received a gift bag that contained a DVD copy of the movie."I though it would be very nice to go through this activity," said Asner. "I was upraised and enlightened by meeting each and every one [of the people at Fort Belvoir], each and every one of them was a great specimen of being an American."