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Elon team named a finalist in 2018 Coca-Cola and Regal Films contest

Following their selection, cinema and television arts majors Patrick Wei ’20, Hunter Strauch ’18 and Katie Shannon ’18 received $15,000 to produce a 35-second film for the student competition.

An Elon University team has been named a finalist in the 2018 Coca-Cola and Regal Films program, a contest for up-and-coming filmmakers that attracts submissions from the country’s top film schools. Other finalists in this year’s competition hail from Columbia University, Ithaca College, the School of Visual Arts, and UCLA.

As part of the 2018 Coca-Cola and Regal Films program, Elon students Hunter Strauch ’18 (from left), Katie Shannon ’18 and Patrick Wei ’20 traveled to Los Angeles in December to attend informational sessions and workshops in preparation for filming their contest entry.

Patrick Wei ’20, who wrote the project’s script and will serve as director, and Hunter Strauch ’18, producer, asked Katie Shannon ’18 to join their team as an additional producer. Together, the three cinema and television arts majors have assembled a group of Elon students to shoot their entry, with filming scheduled to take place this week at Regal Atlantic Station in Atlanta.

“More than anything we were looking for ambitious members of the Elon community who were just as passionate about creating powerful and meaningful work as we are,” said Strauch. “These films have the chance to be shown around the nation, and we wanted to work with students who have the drive to achieve that.”

As part of the competition, Coca-Cola and Regal Films invited 29 college and university film schools to submit potential script ideas in October. Following Elon’s selection, Wei, Strauch and Shannon traveled to Los Angeles in December to meet with contest representatives and film professionals to discuss the intricacies of filming their entry.

Wei said he looks forward to seeing his script come to life, which calls for the protagonist (“Jack”) to accidently drop his Coke and popcorn and have a revelation of how important the beverage and snack are to his movie experience.

“Overall, I've been very lucky to have such diligent and reliable producers with me throughout this project, and I really look forward to working with other endlessly talented cast and crew,” Wei said. “I think we are all very proud of ourselves and of Elon competing with grad students from top film schools across the country. We are going work our hardest.”

To help bring the script to life, Elon alumnus Wilson Hester '15 has been tabbed to help facilitate the project.

A panel of industry experts will review and judge the final entries. The grand prize-winning film will be screened at Regal Cinemas nationwide and the winning team will also receive a RED RAVEN® Camera Kit for themselves and one for their school. The winner will be announced at the CinemaCon conference in April.

This year’s program will also include a Fan Favorite Award based on social media sharing. All film entries will be featured online, and viewers will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite on Twitter. The Fan Favorite Award winner will also receive prizes, which will be announced later this year.

“This opportunity is a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” said Shannon. “It's not often students can get their hands on a RED Camera and film something for companies as big as Coca-Cola or Regal Cinemas. We are getting professional influence in every aspect of our filmmaking, and their assistance and guidance is critical to our success.”

Add Strauch, “Not many cinema students are given this opportunity and I know my peers are grateful and excited for this.”

Assistant Professor Youssef Osman is serving as the team’s mentor. Additionally, Assistant Professor Denise Hill will help supervise the project’s social media strategy.

This is the third time that Elon students been named a finalist in the Coca-Cola and Regal Films program. Lillian Engel ’19 and Azzurra Catucci ’18 competed in last year’s competition, and Eric Hernandez ’16 was one of three finalists in 2016.

Tommy Kopetskie,
1/24/2018 10:55 AM