HBO Max has a new documentary on the way that will examine the different Santa Clauses from all walks of life who spend their holiday season spreading cheer.
“Santa Camp” will follow a class of professional Santas, Mrs. Clauses, and elves as they attend the annual camp held by the New England Santa Society. The film dives into the lack of diversity within the Santa industry and those who are working to repair this long-standing issue. One Black Santa named Chris was motivated in 2020 to attend Santa Camp after a neighbor left a racist note on his door when he placed a large inflated Black Santa in his yard.
“Please remove your negro Santa Claus yard decoration,” the letter read.
After the ordeal, the Arkansas man wanted to enter the world of Santa to provide Black children with a more relatable Christmas figure.
“Representation is important to me because growing up, I didn’t see it,” he explained.
Another Santa looking to diversify the beloved fictional character is 44-year-old Levi, who wants to be known as “Trans Santa Levi.” He wishes to spread cheer while “being my whole self as Santa.” In the doc, Levi is seen being embraced during Santa Camp but ridiculed in the real world by people unwilling to accept a different version of Old Saint Nick.
“Santa Camp” director and producer Nick Sweeney says he learned a lot from the many men and women who dedicate themselves to making the world a better place, calling the film “joy to make.”
“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,” he stated.
Ahead of its November 17th premiere on HBO Max, “Santa Camp” will debut at the IFC Center as part of the documentary festival DOC NYC on November 12th.