COKE CASTS FOR IDEAS FROM FILM SCHOOLS

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Coca-Cola Co. is slated to announce finalists this week in a contest with five leading film schools in which students were asked to present ideas for a 60-second spot to run before feature films in some 25,000 movie theaters late next spring.

The winner of the Coca-Cola Refreshing Filmmakers' Award will be selected by what the company is calling a "red-ribbon" panel of 17 film industry notables, including director Milos Forman. Contest participants were asked to develop films about the movies or the movie-going experience; a tie-in to Coca-Cola was not a requirement, a spokesman said. The winner will produce the spot and receive $10,000 in prize money.

Coca-Cola has been running 60-second features in movie theaters, where it claims to have some 80% of the beverage business, for the past 18 months. The spots have been produced in-house, the spokesman said, and aren't viewed as traditional commercials. Two have featured David Letterman, and another George Wendt; the latest, to debut in January, features comedian Richard Jeni.

The film schools participating are UCLA, USC, New York University, Columbia University and North Carolina School of the Arts.

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