The people of Bryan who helped create Rekindling Christmas when it filmed in and around the city in January 2020 can now say they are part of an Emmy-nominated film.
The holiday movie is among the five nominees in the Outstanding Daytime Fiction Program at the Daytime Emmy Awards taking place next week. The Daytime Emmys, which is put on by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, recognizes made-for-television projects intended for the before-5 p.m. time slots as well as digital streaming films. The after-5 p.m. productions are honored during the Primetime Emmys.
“We’re just so proud and happy,” producer, lead actress and Bryan native Ashley Atwood said. “We could not have done it without every single person that participated in this program, even if you just showed up for that first day with the drones in Downtown Bryan for that First Friday.”
Atwood suggested filming in her hometown, and after seeing the city and the community’s support, she said, director James Ganiere changed the setting of the film from a fictional town in Colorado to Bryan.
The entire city of Bryan became part of the Rekindling Christmas team, Ganiere said.
“Even though the odds are stacked against us, like, I’m gonna bet on us because I believe in this team wholeheartedly,” he said. The odds were stacked against them for filming the movie with a limited budget and time and also for any nominations because of the stigma placed on Christmas movies, he said.
Atwood said the story, written by Ganiere’s wife, Rebekah, sets the movie apart from the rest of the Christmas genre because it deals with real struggles of love and loss during the holidays that people can relate to.
Michael Patrick Lane, the lead actor in the movie and a Bryan-College Station native, said, the best part about the nomination is that it is for the film as a whole, not one particular person.
“It’s pretty incredible to be one of five films within this category,” he said. “What’s fun about this is you’re being recognized for your work; everyone is being recognized for their work, and it’s really just, I don’t know, it touches my heart. It’s cool because you do projects out of passion and love and you put everything you can into it.”
The project did not have the budget of some of the other nominees in the category, he said, but it is able to compete with those bigger films because of the community’s willingness to help and support the film.
“Our locations were incredible, and it really made everything stand out because Bryan gave us full access,” he said.
Raini Rodriguez, also a Bryan native starring in the film, said no matter what the outcome on July 18, it is an honor to receive the nomination.
“To sort of be able to bring Hollywood back to Bryan and to know that all of these people that watched our film on the nomination ballot, they saw Bryan, Texas,” she said. “They saw the essence; they saw the people; they saw the community, and you can feel that throughout the movie. You can feel the love. … To know that my peers recognized that is so phenomenal.”
The Daytime Lifestyle Programming Emmy Awards will be presented July 18 at 7 p.m. at watch.theemmys.tv. There also will be a telecast of the Daytime Emmys on July 25.