First-year Ithaca College students Eva Kirie and Clara Montague received an accelerated education in professional filmmaking when they were selected as finalists in the national Coca-Cola and Regal Films Program. The program is a six-month initiative that challenges film students — usually experienced upperclassmen — to write and shoot a short film advertising Coca-Cola and Regal Cinemas.
If the pair are selected as the grand prize winners by a red ribbon panel of industry judges in April, they’ll receive a Red Raven camera kit and their film will be played on thousands of Regal Cinemas screens across the country.
“I can’t even describe it,” said Kirie. “There’s no freshmen that get these types of opportunities at any other school.”
Their film, “The Library,” features a student studying in a library when he receives a notification about a new movie release on his phone. When he calls out to invite a friend to the movie, total strangers pop up inviting themselves along.
“As they walk through the door they are welcomed by the exciting movie atmosphere and all of the Coca-Cola and popcorn,” said Kirie. “The theme we wanted to get across was strangers coming together and becoming friends all because of the entertaining experience of going to the movies.”
Filming took place in January at the Ithaca College Library and Regal Stadium 14 in Ithaca. RED Digital Cinema provided top of the line camera gear for production and Deluxe’s EFILM provided professional color
The two television-radio majors entered the contest in fall 2017 as a result of an assignment in their Introduction to Media Industries course in the Roy H. Park School of Communications. Associate professor Jack Powers assigned a project to pitch a script, crew list and budget for the competition, but weren’t required to actually apply to the program. Confident in their script, Kirie and Montague took the extra step.
After being selected as one of five finalists, they were flown out to Los Angeles to meet with executives from Coca-Cola, Regal, Red Digital Cinema and Deluxe’s EFILM. They also received $15,000 to make their 35-second film, training on the cutting-edge Red camera kit that they would use during filming and post production mentorship at Deluxe’s EFILM.
Kirie served as the film’s producer, with Montague in the director’s chair. It was an intimidating proposition for the first-year students, but Kirie said that they had confidence in the crew they selected, working with a team of 16 students from Park Productions and Park Media Lab Director Carol Jennings to complete the project.
“I can’t say that I ever had a producer role before this, or even something close to what this whole production was like, but it was great being able to learn while going through the experience,” said Kirie.
Their fellow students were committed to making a great film. Some crew members even stepped in as extras when filming ran late in the library. “It was awesome to see that people were so willing to make this film happen, and they weren’t going to let that get in the way,” said Kirie.
Because the film advertises Coca-Cola, Kirie and Montague received food styling training while in Los Angeles. “I had no idea how much goes into making Coke or popcorn look pretty,” said Kirie. She explained that the condensation on a bottle of Coke is created using gels and liquids, while a mixture of Coke and Sprite is used to achieve the perfect caramel color on film.
In addition to the grand prize winner, the program has launched a new Fan Favorite Award. The Fan Favorite Award is an opportunity for the public to view all films and vote for their favorite by sharing the students’ work on Twitter. The students whose film receives the most public shares on Twitter will win an exclusive mentorship opportunity, while their school will receive a Red camera package.