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Vote now: Help get Elon on the big screen

As part of the 2018 Coca-Cola and Regal Films student film competition, Elon students traveled to Atlanta in late January to produce a 35-second film, which is now available to watch online. And don’t forget to vote for Elon’s commercial in the Fan Favorite Award contest.

The 35-second commercial made by the Elon University team that was named a finalist in the 2018 Coca-Cola and Regal Films program is now available to watch and share on Coke.com/RegalFilms. The contest for young filmmakers consistently attracts submissions from the country’s top film schools, and the Elon commercial can be seen alongside entries from Columbia University, Ithaca College, the School of Visual Arts and UCLA.

Senior Jacob Major, a music theatre major at Elon University, is the main character in Elon's Coca-Cola Regal Films Program commercial, which features him tripping on a shoelace. Major was repeatedly filmed falling to get the perfect shot. Photos courtesy of Caroline Brehman ’18.

Patrick Wei ’20 and Hunter Strauch ’18, cinema and television arts majors, were selected as finalists for the competition in December and received $15,000 to make a 35-second film. The Elon commercial, titled “Movie Life,” highlights the moviegoing experience and the essential role that Coca-Cola and popcorn play when going to the movies. The contest entry was filmed in Atlanta in late January by an Elon team consisting of students, alumni and professionals.

“It was surreal to work with major brands like Coca-Cola and Regal Cinemas while also representing my school and specifically the music theatre program,” said Jacob Major ’18, an Elon music theatre major who stars in the commercial.

In the film written by Wei, Major is seen falling with a tub of popcorn and a Coca-Cola in hand as he watches those around him indulge in their moviegoing experience. Fortunately, the tasty concessions items are saved at the last moment.

While Major’s Coca-Cola and popcorn were ultimately spared, the Elon students still need your help – or, rather, your vote!

Be sure to vote for Elon!

The Elon University team poses on set at a Regal Cinema in Atlanta. The team filmed the commercial overnight from 10 p.m. to 10 a.m.

As part of the Coca-Cola and Regal Films program, all entries are judged by a panel of industry experts. The grand prize-winning film will be screened at Regal Cinemas nationwide as early as June, with the winning team also receiving a RED RAVEN Camera Kit for themselves and one for their respective school. The winner will be announced at the CinemaCon conference in April.

In addition to the grand prize, this year’s program also includes a Fan Favorite Award based on social media sharing. This is where Elon’s student team needs Phoenix support.

All five entries are featured online at Coke.com/RegalFilms and REGmovies.com where viewers can share the films. Public shares on Twitter with the hashtag #contestMovieLife will be counted as a vote toward Elon’s commercial for the Fan Favorite Award. Those who share the commercials will also be entered for a chance to win Regal movie tickets for a year. Viewers can vote once per day through the contest’s conclusion, Friday, April 20.

Elon students, families and alumni are encouraged to follow the commercial’s social media accounts in order to support the young filmmakers, watch behind-the-scenes content, and keep up to date with the project.

Co-producers Hunter Strauch ’18 and Katie Shannon ’18 embrace while on set filming a commercial for the 2018 Coca-Cola Regal Films Program. The pair worked closely to make everything on set run smoothly. Strauch and Shannon oversaw casting, budgeting, location scouting, catering, wardrobe, and numerous other responsibilities. 

Twitter: @ElonMovieLife

Instagram: @elonmovielife

Facebook: Elon Movie Life

“I’m so excited to share ‘Movie Life’ with the world,” Strauch said. “My friends and family have been dying to see it and share it with their friends. Plus, I think Elon has a good chance of winning the social media prize because this competition is really going to allow Elon's tight-knit and supportive community to shine.”

Finalists in the Coca-Cola and Regal Films program have launched marketing campaigns to encourage viewers to watch, share and support their films. The Elon campaign, which was initiated in late February, is led by the team’s Social Media Manager Anna Zwingelberg ’18 and Assistant Social Media Manager Jenna Barone ’19. Assistant Professor Denise Hill is mentoring the students with the social media campaign.

While voting has just begun, Barone has enjoyed seeing how the competition has already brought the Elon community together.

Elon alumnus Wilson Hester ’15 (right) talks with actors on set. Hester was invited to co-direct with Patrick Wei ’20 and help the student team. 

“Several student organizations, especially the Student Union Board, have been eager to help sponsor and plan events that promote the competition,” the strategic communications major said. “We’ve also reached out to several alumni with strong social media followings for support. Many have already responded and agreed to post and vote. We’re so grateful for the Elon community.”

Added Barone, “We’ve got some great behind-the-scenes footage that we’re sharing on our social media accounts. It’s definitely something you don’t want to miss.”

Major also highlighted the importance of supporting the hard work that these Elon students have put into the production and into representing Elon University.

“Current students, family and alumni should vote for our project because this is what makes Elon special,” the music theatre major said. “Being a Phoenix is all about experiential learning, collaboration and unification through diversity. I am so grateful to train at a university that holds a national reputation for excellence and equips all students, from seniors to freshmen, to produce exceptional work year after year. Elon’s alumni base is so connected and it would be wonderful to see the university’s past and present come together in support of a project that we have poured so much of our time, energy and talents into.”

Elon takes over Atlanta

Wei, Strauch and co-producer Katie Shannon ’18 compiled a team of Elon students, alumni and professionals to help them produce the project. In late January, the crew traveled to Atlanta to film the commercial in an overnight, 12-hour-long shoot.

Elon junior Matt Simmons (left), director of photography, sets up a shot with the RED camera with the help of Mitch Herndon ’17, a video producer in the School of Communications. If selected as the grand prize winner, the winning team and Elon University will both receive RED RAVEN® Camera Kits. 

“Dozens of students in all four classes from a variety of programs at our school were involved in making this overnight shoot a success,” said Major.

Alongside the students, Elon alumnus Wilson Hester ’15 co-directed the film with Wei, while Mitch Herndon ’17, video producer in the School of Communications, served as first assistant camera. Assistant Professor Youssef Osman, who is mentoring the project, also traveled to Atlanta to support to the team.

“Traveling to Atlanta was exciting! I’ve never been before so being able to film at the heart of the film industry on the East Coast was great,” Strauch said. “We went to Atlanta for a couple reasons, but overall it was for a chance to work with more industry professionals. We would not have been able to get such great talent or gear without traveling to a film-hub like Atlanta.”

The release was written by Anna Zwingelberg ’18.

Tommy Kopetskie,
3/9/2018 9:10 AM