Nearly 20 years ago, Coca-Cola unveiled its Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award as part of the company’s commitment to education and the arts. The competition tapped various film schools and their brightest students to submit entries of original scripts and storyboards, with 10 finalists ultimately receiving $7,500 to produce a 50-second film that was shown at theaters around the country.
Previous winners include Kyle Newman, who directed “Fanboys” and is currently working on the animated feature “Gnomes!,” along with Josh Greenbaum, who is currently working on a new rom-com starring Elizabeth Banks. Not bad company.
The program has evolved over the years, and is returning full force as a brand-new initiative backed by both Coca-Cola and Regal Cinemas, now called the Coca-Cola and Regal Films program. Aided by the addition of Regal as a partner, the new program provides even greater opportunities for student filmmakers to access the entertainment industry and receive national exposure.
RED Digital Cinema (RED) recently joined the initiative as the professional technology provider, helping to elevate the student films even more. In addition to supplying top-of-the-line professional digital camera equipment and expertise on film capture for each production, RED will grant the grand prize winning filmmaker a SCARLET-W 5K camera package and the winning filmmaker’s school a RED EPIC-X 6K camera package.
The ultimate goal of the Coca-Cola and Regal Films program is to support the next generation of filmmakers by giving them an opportunity to practice their craft and provide them exposure to influencers across the filmmaking industry.
The 2017 program has just kicked off.
More than 20 college and university film schools, including the American Film Institute, Morehouse College, New York University, and UCLA, are participating. During the six-month initiative, student finalists are asked to create a 35-second film about a special movie-going experience. The program provides students with hands-on opportunities that cover all aspects of commercial filmmaking, from developing scripts and managing the creative process to camera work and casting. Coca-Cola and Regal teams narrow down the scripts and select up to five finalists.
Each 2017 finalist will receive $15,000 to produce a 35-second film, access to shoot their film at a Regal cinema, plus critique and feedback from the Red Ribbon panel of experts who include members of the entertainment industry, as well as Coca-Cola, Regal and RED representatives. The panelists will also select the grand prize winner, who will be announced at the CinemaCon conference in March 2017.
The winning film will debut on-screen for movie audiences on thousands of screens in Regal Cinemas nationwide in spring 2017.
Coca-Cola and Regal Films have already announced their 2016 grand prize winner: Ameer Kazmi, writer and director from New York City’s School of Visual Arts, for his film “Blindfold.” His film was shown in Regal theaters nationwide beginning on October 28.
IndieWire, Coca-Cola, Regal and RED also are teaming up for a special filmmaker and industry party in Park City, Utah later this month.