You might see some familiar names in the 2022 Coca Cola Refreshing Films Program.
Dodge Students May-Lynn Le, a junior film production and screenwriting double major, and Kaylen Ng, a junior creative producing major, have been selected as finalists in this year’s competition. The team kicked off production this weekend with 18K in funding received from Coca Cola and a crew of Dodge students.
The Grand Prize winner of the program will have the opportunity to have their film screened at Coca-Cola partnered movie theaters all across the country.
For Kaylen, competing in the Refreshing Films program has always been a goal of hers.
“I have really strong memories of going to the movie theater and seeing those ads, it’s always something I thought would be cool one day to do,” said Kaylen.
After seeing an announcement on the slate about this year’s competition, Kaylen reached out to May-Lynn about collaborating on this project, and the duo quickly got to work.
The Coca-Cola Refreshing Films program kicked off with an open call for 60 second branded spot scripts. The concept for each script had to center around the themes of this year’s competition: the magic of movies and meaningful connections.
After submitting five different scripts in the open call, May-Lynn and Kaylen were selected as one of 15 semi-finalists out of all competing schools. The next step was to create storyboards and an animatic for their concept, which they had only one week to complete and submit to Coca Cola.
Just two weeks later, they got the call that they had been selected as one of four finalists who would be receiving funding to go into production. And after spending the last three years studying at Dodge, the duo was ready to take on a project of this caliber.
“This experience is so real world. We’re working with clients, and I feel like we came in more than prepared because of what we’ve learned at our time at Dodge,” said May-Lynn.
The concept for their 60 second spot follows the story of two friends on a double date at a movie theater, who wind up being transported through a portal. The characters end up jumping through scenes from iconic film genres, including Film Noir, Western, and 1950’s diner Americana.
Despite these classic genres, May-Lynn and Kaylen’s take is anything but traditional.
“These past few years, there’s been a big shift in wanting to bring in a lot of different voices, and that was what we really wanted to do. We wanted to take these really traditional film genres, and turn them on their head,” said Kaylen.
With diversity and inclusion at the forefront of this project since the very beginning, Kaylen and May-Lynn were able to put together a majority POC cast and crew.
“I think when you’re in a position of power, and you’re the one that can dictate the narrative, you might as well write it in a direction of the types of people you want to see on screen,” said Kaylen.
And for May-Lynn, from seeing their goal of creating a diverse and inclusive cast and crew come to life, she has high hopes for the future of the industry.
“I feel really lucky because we have a great crew behind us that we get to stand on the shoulders of, everyone’s just so mindful,” said May-Lynn.
“This has shown me it is possible, you just have to put in a little work.”