Over the years, Canadian actress Ali Liebert has appeared in countless Hallmark productions. In 2016, she had a guest role on the series Chesapeake Shores as the love interest of Kevin (Brendan Penny). She starred opposite Peter Porte in 2017 in the film Cherished Memories, and then again in 2019 in the sequel, Cherished Memories: A Gift to Remember 2. In December 2021, she played the youngest of three daughters in the Hallmark Movies Now film Every Time a Bell Rings.
This Sunday, Liebert will make her debut as a Hallmark director with North to Home, which airs on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries.
“I had been offered a few other Hallmark films but I was busy acting,” Liebert said in an interview to promote the movie. “But then this one came up, and I thought it was such a great fit.”
The movie stars Barbara Niven as Suzanne McBride, an Alaskan woman whose daughters Posy (Lyndsy Fonseca), Hannah (Erica Durance), and Beth (Kimberley Sustad) return home to help her celebrate her 60th birthday. Before they can make it to the big day, the women begin arguing about past events.
“There’s a certain amount of resentment each sister holds,” Sustad said in a Facebook Live interview. “Then the honesty comes. Everybody gets honest with one another, and the resentment starts to heal itself, and it sort of goes away.”
Sustad, Durance, and Niven commented on how great it was to have an actor directing the film.
“You made the set really calm for us,” Niven said. “You made me a better actor.”
The actors said it was a hectic two-week shoot. Storms that flooded Hallmark’s When Calls the Heart set touched down in the area where they were filming, but they avoided any major problems.
“We really lucked out,” Liebert said. “On days that we were exterior, it would be okay, and days when we were interior, we would look out the window, and trees would be flowing by.”
Behind the camera
Liebert made her professional acting debut in the 2004 pilot of the Showtime series The L Word. In 2015, she won a Canadian Screen Award for her portrayal of Betty McRae in the series Bomb Girls.
The actress has been directing for three years and producing movies since 2011 with the boutique company Sociable Films, which she helped found.
She told aspiring directors to get as much experience as they can writing and filming, even if it’s just small projects to begin with.
“Even if it’s on your iPhone,” she said. “Just write and direct a short film, just so you get a feel for the technical stuff.”
North to Home will premiere on Hallmark Movies and Mysteries on Sunday, January 9 at 9/8c.