Christmas came early for Bakersfield residents, James and Rebekah Ganiere when they found out they received a Daytime Emmy nomination for their film “Rekindling Christmas.”
“We had watched hundreds of these Christmas movies, and we wanted to do something different,” James Ganiere, who directed and produced the film, said.
He pointed out it’s not often a Christmas film receives an Emmy nomination.
“Sometimes you’re like, ‘why is this character sticking around? They’re so mean to them! I would be out!’” James Ganiere said. “So the idea was to really make it grounded and have real conflict.”
But “Rekindling Christmas, written by USA Today bestselling author and award-winning writer, Rebekah Ganiere, recently received a Daytime Emmy nomination in the “Outstanding Daytime Fiction Program” category. The story is about former college sweethearts, Jesse and Annika who parted ways after Jesse got drafted in the NFL. An injury brings Jesse back to town years later.
“[It’s] pretty straightforward: guy and girl were together at one point, broke up and came back together and it’s about them trying to get back together later in life,” Rebekah Ganiere said.
At the same time, James Ganiere said they wanted to “break new ground” in the Christmas film genre.
“You never really see the romantic guy lead break down in tears. Ever,” James Ganiere said. “In fact you never see any emotions like that. But it happens within the first ten minutes of the film, which really gives him motivation to stick around when she’s kind of pushing him away.”
Just like the romance at the heart of the film, the making of it was a family effort for the Ganieres. Rebekah and James’ son, Christian Ganiere played Annika's son, T.J., who tries to help Jesse win Annika back. Like his parents, the Bakersfield-born actor has made his mark in entertainment, with roles on “Grey's Anatomy,” “Criminal Minds,” “911” and “Days of Our Lives.”
“Besides being able to work with James and our son Christian, the best part for me was being able to see my vision, when I wrote the book, come to life on the screen and in the movies,” Rebekah Ganiere said. “I just can’t tell you how that feels.”
When they’re not writing books and making films, the Ganieres work with kids at the Bakersfield City School District on after school programs regarding S.T.E.A.M. education.