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ShoWest 2009 - 2009 Coca-Cola Filmmakers Award

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Jerome Sable and Michael Montgomery Honored with Prestigious Award For Young Filmmakers during ShoWest Final Night Banquet and Awards Ceremony

Jerome Sable and Michael Montgomery, graduate students from the University of Southern California’s School of Cinematic Arts, have won the 2009 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award for their dance-themed short film entitled, “Meanwhile...” As winners Sable and Montgomery received $10,000 and their film will be seen later this year on over 21,000 movie screens in theaters that serve Coca-Cola products.

Sable and Montgomery received their award at ShoWest during the Final Night Banquet and Awards Ceremony in Las Vegas on April 2. The short films from the other 2009 top 10 contest finalists can be viewed at

Jerome Sable is an up-and-coming filmmaker in the Graduate Directing Program at the USC School of Cinematic Arts.  Originally from Montréal, Québec, Sable’s creative credits include partnership in “Sable & Batalion,” a musical comedy duo formed in 1993 with childhood friend Eli Batalion in 1993.  Batalion is featured in “Meanwhile” as the “straw player” who dips Mary Murphy at the film’s conclusion.  Sable & Batalion’s award-winning musical theatre show, which has been hailed by the L.A. Times as “groundbreaking,” has visited more than 20 cities worldwide.

Michael Montgomery received a B.A. from the University of Nebraska in creative writing.  He pursued his desire to tell memorable stories through film by joining USC's graduate program in film production where he received the 2007-08 SCA Scholarship Award.  In his three years in Los Angeles, Montgomery has helped manage more than 500 people on nearly 15 different productions.  As he concludes his education at USC, Montgomery is preparing to shoot his graduate thesis film

“It’s always difficult to choose the winner because we receive so many creative submissions,” said Kathleen Ciaramello, Group Vice President Strategic Partnership Marketing, Coca-Cola North America.  “We selected Jerome and Mike’s film because they brought together the fun of movie-going and the simple pleasure of enjoying an ice cold Coca-Cola in a very clever way.”

Jerome Sable
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

From the more than 200 scripts and storyboards submitted, 10 finalists were selected and given $7,500 for production costs to create their short films.  While Sable and Montgomery have independently placed among the top 10 finalists in previous Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award competitions, their decision to team up this year proved to be the winning combination.  The 50-second spot was written and directed by Sable and produced by Montgomery.

“Going to school in Los Angeles gives us great access to the entertainment industry and we knew if we wanted to win this competition we’d need to pull out all the stops,” said Sable.  “By joining forces, Mike and I were able to use our experience in this competition and in filmmaking to create an entertaining story that apparently had the right stuff to impress Coca-Cola.”

The talent roster for “Meanwhile…” includes a celebrity cameo by Mary Murphy, a former dancer and current judge on the FOX hit reality show “So You Think You Can Dance.”  Also featured are ESPN Salsa Champions, David Nieto and Charlene Rose and some of the top break dancers in Los Angeles.  Montgomery and Sable turned to “Step Up 2” director and USC alum, Jon Chu to help cast the dancers in the film.

Jerome Sable
Photo credit: Stephen Thorburn

The winning film offers an imaginative look at what happens in a movie theatre lobby while the movie audience is enjoying the film.  As a group of concession employees perform their standard cleaning routine, they suddenly break into an over-the-top dance.  One worker pulls a straw through the lid of a Coca-Cola cup and another shakes a few candy boxes, creating beats that ignite the dancing.  With the popcorn popping, the workers salsa and break dance, but are brought to a sudden halt when a moviegoer, played by Murphy, discovers their fun and screams with excitement.

The Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award is a great program not only for the way it reinforces the enduring connection between Coca-Cola and the movies, but because it supports our efforts to revitalize the sparkling beverage category in the U.S.,” continued Kathleen Ciaramello, Group Vice President Strategic Partnership Marketing, Coca-Cola North America.

The Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker’s Award has been presented by The Coca-Cola Company each year since 1998 and the winner is selected by the Red Ribbon Panel, a group of entertainment industry experts including actors, writers and directors from major movie studios. The panel chose Sable and Montgomery’s film from student entries representing thirteen prestigious film programs in the U.S.  Participating schools include New York University, Columbia Univeristy, University of Southern California, University of California Los Angeles, North Carolina School of the Arts, Florida State University, Northwestern, University, University of Texas at Austin, California State at Long Beach, University of Colorado at Denver, Chapman University, Brigham Young University and Savannah College of Art and Design.

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