A film by students at the University of North Carolina School of the Arts could earn a $5,000 donation for the School of Filmmaking. “Because We Have To” is one of six finalists for the Sprite Films competition.
Written and directed by Lucian Murphree, a School of Film sophomore from Omaha, Neb., and produced by Char-Lay Douglas, a film senior from Conover, “Because We Have To” was among 135 films submitted from 23 colleges and universities throughout the country.
The finalist films can be viewed online at http://www.sprite.com/films/ and viewers can vote for the “fan favorite,” which earns the donation to the school, plus a trip for the film team to The American Film Institute’s film festival in November in Los Angeles. Voting ends May 15.
In addition, a group of film industry experts will crown the Green Ribbon Panel winner, which will debut in select theatres across the country in August 2014. Those involved with the Green Ribbon Panel winner will have the opportunity to work on a Sprite brand project with an agency that does business with The Coca-Cola Company.
“This is a wonderful experience for these young filmmakers,” said Film Dean Susan Ruskin. “As a student, you want to take advantage of every opportunity to have your work seen by professionals in the industry. The feedback is immeasurable.”
She said that projects like the Sprite film help students expand their skill sets.
“They learn to create purpose-driven stories for companies like Coca-Cola. Those skills are in high demand, so it enhances their resumes,” Ruskin said. “To be one of six chosen from among 135 entries is remarkable. It speaks to the quality of instruction our students receive. We are doing many things exceptionally well.”
The six finalist films premiered at the recent CinemaCon, the annual gathering of cinema owners and operators from around the world, in Las Vegas.
“Because We Have To” is the story of a graffiti artist who is driven to express himself in an unusual way. More than three dozen UNCSA film students are involved in the project. UNCSA School of Dance freshman Ariel Blake appears in the film. Sam Ogden, a 2011 graduate of the School of Filmmaking, was the mural artist for the film.