Lights! Cola! Action!

We don't know whether to be proud, repulsed, jealous–all three? Chapman University grad stud Rosemary Lambert's short film The Reel Monkey won the Grand Prize in a film competition. So far, so good–until you discover it's the 2006 Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmaker Competition. You see, student filmmakers–from the likes of USC, NYU and Farber College, we're told–have their Coke-enhanced scripts approved by the good folks at Coca-Cola, who then pick their faves, give the young 'uns $7,500 cash and $1,000 worth of film stock, and let them turn their Coke dreams into reality. Come to think of it, it's a lot like Hollywood filmmaker, except the Coke-enhanced scripts are enhanced by a different kind of coke.

Lambert's film stars Coca-Cola-loving chimpanzees (we have it on good authority the polar bears and their CAA agents were holding out for more money). “There were a lot of behaviors that I wanted the chimpanzees to do, like sharing a Coca-Cola with our actor swinging from a tree with a Coca-Cola in one hand,” Lambert gushed. Christ, set aside the revulsion of all the product placement in that one scene: check out all the product placement in that one sentence!

Only a minute long (perfect for teevee, no?), The Reel Monkey, which was selected as one of 10 finalists from more than 400 entries, will screen in more than 20,000 movie theaters nationwide in the fall. And Lambert goes to the movie-theater industry's Sho-West trade show in Sin City later this month to collect a $10,000 prize from the Cokeheads.

“This kind of PR is invaluable,” says Derek Horne, film coordinator with Chapman's Dodge College of Film and Media Arts.

Good to see they have their priorities straight at CU.

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