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NEW YORK - Question: What happens when you team New York University business and film graduate students to create short films on the transformative power of broadband?
Answer: You get three bright and unique interpretations of how broadband brings people together and enriches their lives.
Guests from Verizon, NYU, R/GA and the media attended the films' exclusive premiere last evening at NYU. The films were sponsored by Verizon in the second annual ProMotion Pictures' Film Competition, which unites future business leaders and creative professionals --Stern MBA candidates and Kanbar MFA filmmakers -- to collaborate and develop branded entertainment films.
R/GA, Verizon's interactive marketing agency, developed a Web site for Verizon Broadband Films, www.verizonbroadbandfilms.com, to showcase these films, as well as filmmakers' bios, journal entries, documentary clips and scripts.
Verizon's sponsorship of the films is part of its 2005 branding campaign, "Richer. Deeper. Broader," which launched in June. Three winning student-teams were awarded $40,000 each by Verizon to convert their broadband-inspired ideas into short films over the summer.
"We saw this competition as a chance to go beyond traditional advertising to communicate the power of Verizon broadband," said Jerri DeVard, Verizon senior vice president for marketing and brand management. "These students have delivered compelling, unique films that capture the essence of how broadband enriches lives. The films blend entertainment and advertising to create original stories about broadband. It's a great way for us to engage and connect with consumers."
Through the Web site, www.verizonbroadbandfilms.com, visitors can enjoy the films in their own private screening room. Guests are also invited to meet the filmmakers and learn about their experiences through bios, journal entries and documentary clips that capture the filmmakers' challenges, triumphs and laughter throughout production. Additionally, users can download preproduction scripts and story boards to see how the directors translated their ideas onto film.
To qualify for the competition each student team submitted a director's reel and a synopsis, script and production budget for a three- to seven-minute film. Entries were evaluated in two rounds of judging by a panel of industry executives from Verizon, NYU, R/GA and McGarry Bowen, Verizon's corporate advertising agency. The judges scored the submissions according to three main criteria: originality and creativity, budget feasibility and appropriateness to brand strategy.
While each of the three films -- "Adventures of Modem Boy," "Back Home" and "Grey Woman" -- tells an individual story, collectively they emphasize the clear, compelling and transformative benefits of broadband.
In "Adventures of Modem Boy," directed by Jordan Ross, a Southern California native and an award-winning filmmaker, and produced by Felix Banuchi and Melissa DiCarlo, the viewer is entertained with a humorous and lighthearted view of how broadband triumphs over the growing pains of a dial-up Internet connection.
"Back Home," directed by Andy Hulse, an Alberto Vilar Global Fellow from Kingston, Ohio, and produced by Lisa Goodman and Victoria Yoffie, is a heartfelt story of a hometown football hero and how broadband enables him to connect cornfields and big-city skylines.
"Grey Woman," directed by A. Sayeeda Clarke, a Dean's Fellow and native New Yorker, and produced by Brigitte Valentine and Scott Woodruff, is a beautiful interpretation of how broadband can enliven the bleakest of spirits.
The Verizon Broadband Films that explore the transformative powers of broadband are part of the overarching Broadband Stories site -- where users share insights on the positive effects of broadband on everyday life. More clips of the students and their use of broadband in the filmmaking process will be posted in the "movies" section of www.broadbandstories.com.
R/GA (www.rga.com) is the New York-based advertising agency that serves as the lead digital partner for Fortune 500 companies and world-class brands. R/GA focuses on creating optimized, user-centric experiences that sell products, engage customers and build brands across channels, from the Web to broadband/enhanced television and wireless devices. Founded in 1977, R/GA is the world's most award-winning interactive agency and has received the top creative awards for film, broadcast and interactive. R/GA is part of The Interpublic Group (NYSE:IPG), one of the world's largest advertising and marketing services organizations.
About the ProMotion Pictures Film Competition
ProMotion Pictures is an innovative film competition, which brings together business and creative talent from NYU Stern School of Business and NYU Tisch's Kanbar Institute of Film & Television graduate programs to produce a series of brand-driven short films for leading corporations. Created in 2004, by Jeffrey Grossman (MBA '04) and Russ Axelrod (MBA '05) with support from Stern's Entertainment, Media and Technology Program, ProMotion Pictures has sought to explore the real-world convergence of content and commerce while providing students valuable hands-on experience with creating an original production, from screenplay to distribution. For more information about ProMotion Pictures and to view last year's winning films, please visit www.promotionpictures.com.
About Verizon Communications Inc.
With more than $71 billion in annual revenues, Verizon Communications Inc. (NYSE:VZ) is one of the world's leading providers of communications services. Verizon has a diverse work force of more than 214,000 in four business units: Domestic Telecom provides customers based in 28 states with wireline and other telecommunications services, including broadband. Verizon Wireless owns and operates the nation's most reliable wireless network, serving 47.4 million voice and data customers across the United States. Information Services operates directory publishing businesses and provides electronic commerce services. International includes wireline and wireless operations and investments, primarily in the Americas and Europe. For more information, visit www.verizon.com.