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Thursday, April 26, 2012

CinemaCon 2012, Day 4: Sprite Films

Film Flam Flummox


While no longer going by its long-running moniker of the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker's Award, the Sprite Films program continues the same tradition of giving up-and-coming filmmakers from colleges and universities across the country the opportunity of showcasing their talents on a nationwide stage--namely via a short film that would run as part of the pre-feature programming at cinemas all over the United States. Unlike the Coca-Cola award of the ShoWest era, where the winning filmmaker and film were announced/unveiled as part of the Final Night Awards program, CinemaCon only marks the beginning of the Sprint Films program/contest. The eight filmmakers whose short film scripts were selected to take part in the program--Jay (Jerry) Light of Elon University; Sean Tien and John Wikstrom, both of Florida State University; Qayoe Jones of Savannah College of Art and Design; and the teams of Steven Huffaker and Simon Savelyev, and Standy Stenzel and Josephine Green, both of UCLA--were treated to filmmaking workshops sponsored by Universal Pictures as well as one-on-one (or, in the case of the duos, two-on-one) face-to-face discussion sessions with actor Tyrese Gibson, who offered his guidance on and insights into the motion picture industry to the young talent.

After the convention, the filmmaker contestants will go on to make their short films, which will then compete against one another in a contest that will run from August 1-31 on Sprite's website, where consumers/visitors can vote for their favorite film (and enter a sweepstakes for a Universal Orlando vacation). The winning film will then play on movie theatre screens across the country beginning later this year.

(very special thanks to Tyrese Gibson, Tara Moore of Rogers & Cowan on behalf of Sprite, plus Heather Lewandoski, Jessica Erskine, and the entire crew at Rogers & Cowan, as well as CinemaCon Managing Director Mitch Neuhauser for all their helpful and generous assistance at the convention this week.)

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