Gonzales local wins Southeast EMMY for a team passion project

Logan Ridenour
Ben Schexnaydre, a Gonzales native, won a Southeast Emmy award recently for his work on Odyssey: A Star Wars Story.

Ben Schexnaydre, a Gonzales native won a Southeast Emmy award while attending the Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD). He was also one of 20 students from SCAD who was honored by the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences during the ceremony.

His team won the award, which was given by the Southeast Chapter of the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, based in Atlanta, Ga., in Long-Form Fiction for their production Odyssey: A Star Wars Story.

"It was released online in October 2018 and has garnered over one million views on YouTube," Schexnaydre said.

He said his drive to create comes from a love of films and production. "It's the pursuit of making films for people to enjoy," Schexnaydre said. He says he finds like-minded individuals at SCAD.

"That's one of the reasons I love SCAD so much," he said. "There I've been able to find inspiration, a community of filmmakers and artists who are passionate about the industry, and above all a spirit of collaboration that leads us to create amazing things."

One of those amazing creations was Odyssey, a project that took two years to create alongside over 120 other cast and crew members. This team was comprised of SCAD students and professionals.

Schexnaydre said onlookers would initially believe they were watching reshoots from an actual Star Wars Movie.

As a line producer on the project his duties included managing the budget while supporting the director's creative decisions. Schexnaydre also assisted in day-to-day operations to maintain a smooth shooting schedule.

"When we initially began working on the film we had no idea it would generate this much attention and recognition," he said. "It was a passion project and that passion is evident when you watch it." He said it felt amazing for his work to be honored in this way.

"It was one of the greatest learning experiences of my life. While it was challenging for sure, it allowed me to make the mistakes I needed to become the filmmaker I am today," he said.