‘Shifting Gears’ Marks Big First for Hallmark Initiative [Behind-the-Scenes Stories]

"Shifting Gears"

Hallmark "Shifting Gears"

The Hallmark Channel’s newest movie, “Shifting Gears,” premieres on Saturday, March 23, at 8 p.m. Eastern/7 p.m. Central. The movie stars Tyler Hynes and Katherine Barrell. Read on to learn all about where it was filmed and more behind-the-scenes details. The movie is the first film in a major Hallmark initiative focused on bringing more women to directorial roles.

‘Shifting Gears’ Was Filmed in Ontario, Canada

"Shifting Gears"

Hallmark“Shifting Gears”

Part of the Spring Into Love lineup, “Shifting Gears” is making quite a few Hynies happy, since the last time he had a new movie on the Hallmark channel was for “Never been Chris’d” back in December 2023.

Also known by its working title, “Love In High Gear,” “Shifting Gears” was filmed in Ottawa, Ontario, according to the FTIA, with a shooting date of October 10, 2023.

InsideOttawaValley.com wrote that one of the movie’s filming locations was Carleton Place at the Grand Hotel in Ottawa. (This location also served as a filming spot for “Paging Mr. Darcy.”) Filming continued on October 26 at 58 Bridge Street, the location of Mr. Mozzarella.

Hynes posted a cute behind-the-scenes video of a skating scene. The video also features his mother.

He explained that this was the first time in 20 years that his mom had joined him on set!


“#hynies I can promise you….he’s exactly how you imagine him to be!” director Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe wrote in a post about the movie.


“This is @katbarrell if you’re looking for the epitome of grace and power….that’s Kat,” Lowe shared in another post.

The Movie Marks a Directorial Debut from Hallmark’s ‘Make Her Mark’ Program

The movie marks the directorial premiere of Yan-Kay Crystal Lowe (“Signed, Sealed, Delivered”), the first participant in Hallmark’s Make Her Mark Women’s Directing Program.

Ashley Williams, founder of Hallmark’s Make Her Mark Women’s Directing Program, told Hallmark: “Yan-Kay Crystal’s drive, intelligence, and willingness to always learn more made her the perfect fit to launch Make Her Mark. The beauty of this program is that we have created a training ground for women to learn and then showcase their skills. They really earn their seat in the director’s chair.”

Crystal Lowe added: “I’m so grateful that Hallmark granted me the opportunity to bring my creative vision to the screen and make my directorial debut with Shifting Gears.”

Hallmark Media’s Make Her Mark Women’s Directing Program fosters inclusive storytelling by mentoring and increasing the representation of women behind the camera. It was founded by Williams in collaboration with company executives.

Hynes commented about the directorial program on his Instagram, writing: “Grateful to be of service in the first of its kind and the start of something beautiful.”

Lowe posted a picture about both main actors working on their lines before the scenes.

“Nothing more beautiful than watching two actors just chillin and going over lines while laughing and creating. It’s my happy place,” she wrote.

And she shared a directing montage:


Lowe also shared another behind-the-scenes story, writing: “Ok…..this man, who was always hiding from my cameras was my right hand. This is the man who made #shiftinggears more beautiful than I could have imagined. He sat with me and listened to my crazy asks, he gave advice and knew when to let me go rouge.”

In another post, she shared her appreciation for the opportunity by writing: “Look at this group! We are just missing @jessicanoelleharmon and @ashleywilliamsandcompany I mean, I was literally surrounded by the most supportive kick ass women in the biz! Watch what we can do when we come together!”

“A little more behind the scene videos of #ShiftingGears and my #makehermark journey,” Lowe wrote in another post.

“This is what pure joy looks like. I don’t even know how to describe what living your dream feels like,” Lowe gushed in another post.

Ashley Williams shared: “When you run one directing program but you’re hiding next to the broom cart, participating in another.”

Williams said this movie culminates five years of work.

“I’ve been working on this for five years. A program at the Hallmark Channel to educate and employ up-and-coming female directors. And here she is!” she wrote.

Ray Gelletti who plays Wayne in the movie, is also Barrell’s real-life partner.

“Happy 5yr wedding Anniversary @katbarrell , quite possibly the happiest (which is saying a lot since our entire relationship has been all kinds of spectacular). Every day, month and year just keeps getting better and better… best is yet to keep coming. ❤️” he wrote.


Meet the Cast

Hallmark’s synopsis reads: “Shifting Gears centers around Motor City mechanic Jess Barro (Kat Barrell) and her father Ray (James Burke) run their family-owned automotive garage but money’s getting tight thanks to competition from a big auto repair shop chain in town. Her passion is auto restoration and when Jess gets the chance to compete on an auto restoration show, she reluctantly agrees as the prize money would go a long way toward keeping their shop afloat. She’s shocked to discover one of the competitors is Luke (Hynes), her ex-boyfriend and the son of her dad’s former business partner who cut him out, leading Jess to break things off with Luke. The show’s participants face off in a series of increasingly difficult challenges to showcase their personal style leading to the final round of repainting a classic car. As the competition revs up, Jess and Luke’s personal rivalry becomes a big hit with the audience and producers alike. After a few misfires, they work through their former relationship and start to bond again over their shared love of classic cars. As they speed toward the finish line, Luke has a disastrous painting mishap that threatens to ruin Jess’ chances of winning. And when she learns his dad plans to buy her family’s garage, she suspects the painting disaster was sabotage rather than an accident. Will their relationship break down again and be beyond repair, or will they be able to restore it and jump start their romance once again?”

Tyler Hynes is known for his roles in various Hallmark Channel movies and TV series. According to his bio, his Hallmark Channel original movie leads include films like “A Picture of Her,” “Three Wise Men and a Baby,” and on Hallmark Movies & Mysteries, “Time for Him to Come Home for Christmas” and “Always Amore.” Additionally, he had a recurring role in the TV series “UnREAL” and starred opposite Alexander Ludwig in the feature film “Peace.” Hynes was also on the series “Saving Hope” and has starred in “Letterkenny.”

Katherine Barrell plays Jess. According to her bio, she’s well known for her role as Officer Nicole Haught in the supernatural TV series “Wynonna Earp.” Barrell ventured into directing with “Flipping for Christmas.” She’s also well known for her role on “Good Witch.”

Also starring in the movie, according to Hallmark’s press release, are:

  • Kristin Booth (Teri)
  • Andrew Jackson (Steven Childs)
  • Ray Galletti (Wayne Laroche)
  • Carlisle Williams (Ike)
  • Steven Vlahos (Kevin)
  • Adam Fawns (Clark)
  • Colton Royce (Pete)
  • Ava Ro (Eden)
  • James Burke (Ray)
  • Jean-Paul Najm (Grant)
  • Kieron River (Motorist)
  • Joseph Claude DuBois (Car Collector)
Read More