Student movie marketers shows the Key Art Awards what they've got


Originally published June 13, 2008

In at least one respect, professionals in the movie marketing community don't have to wonder what the future of key art will look like: It's on display each year, both print and audiovisual, in The Hollywood Reporter's Movie Marketing Key Art Awards Student Competition.

Now in its seventh year, this unique addition to the Key Art Awards offers full-time college students 18 years or older the chance to create their own movie marketing materials and have them judged by top industry professionals. And recently, the competition has exploded in popularity.

Just how much?

This year, 270 one-sheets and 103 trailers were submitted -- a 60% increase over last year -- from 32 different schools. And for the first time ever, the contest has gone international. The first submission from outside the U.S. was accepted from a student at Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece's largest university.

"It reached all the way there totally by word of mouth. It's pretty incredible," says Jeff Bacon, chairman of the competition.

Involved in the competition since its inception, Bacon, a founding partner of Cimarron/Bacon/O'Brien and the current managing director at the Designory Los Angeles, couldn't be happier with the heightened awareness of the marketing craft.

These days, entering the competition has become an academic requirement for graduation from the design and marketing programs at schools like the Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising (FIDM), Cal State Northridge and Cal State Fullerton.

"It used to be that a lot of the students didn't know how a movie poster or trailer came about. They thought the poster was just a frame out of the movie," Bacon says. "It's a huge acknowledgment and a positive message to what can be done as an artist in the commercial film area."

As in past years, the students create either a one-sheet or trailer, choosing a film from among three past boxoffice hits. This year's choices were "300," "Knocked Up" and "Dreamgirls."

After processing by The Hollywood Reporter staff, the submissions were turned over to a preliminary panel of judges. They culled the entries down to between 12 and 15 finalists, which were then presented to the Key Art advisory board for the final determination. The winners were revealed May 29 at a reception at FIDM's downtown L.A. campus. A total of $22,000 in scholarship prizes were awarded: $7,500 for first place, $2,500 for second place and $1,000 for third place in both the trailer and one-sheet categories. The scholarship monies are divided equally between the winning student and his or her school. Additionally, Sarah Neyhart of FIDM took home the Publisher's Award for best poster.

But the students and schools aren't the evening's only beneficiaries.

It doesn't hurt to have a front-row seat as key art's top new talents make their debut. Meme Ellis and Benjamin Boles, last year's first and third place finishers in the trailer competition, now have key positions at the Designory.

"What do you think we're doing this for?" Bacon says.

This year's winners:


1st place:
Dara Cornell
California State University, Fullerton
Instructor: Christian Hill

2nd place:
Daniel Johnson
University of Southern California
Instructor: David Bondelevitch

3rd place:
Paraskevas Grigorakis
Aristotle University of Thessaloniki, Greece
Instructor: Argiris Marmaras


1st place:
"Dreamgirls: Silhouette"
Kerri Gaglioti
California State University, Fullerton
Instructor: Cheryl Savala

2nd place (tie):

"Knocked Up"
Evan Fields
California State University, Fullerton
Instructor: Cheryl Savala

"Knocked Up"
Victoria Hoke
North Carolina State University
Instructor: Dane Krogman

3rd place (tie):

Huong Ha
Ernest G. Welch School of Art & Design at Georgia State University
Instructor: Stan Anderson

Vincent Yobeanto
California State University, Fullerton
Instructor: Cheryl Savala


"Knocked Up"
Sarah Neyhart
Fashion Institute of Design & Merchandising
Instructor: Kari Zurfiuh