UNLV film students are finalists in nationwide film competition

These two UNLV film students are working on something amazing! It has the chance to be seen on movie screens nationwide!!!

After 17 scripts and months of hard work, UNLV film students Lily Campisi and Nicolle Peterson figured out a screenplay that landed them a top-five spot in a nationwide competition.

“It was definitely an idea that I liked, but I’m like, nah, I feel like it’s not going to get in," writer/director Peterson said.

They're representing UNLV in the Coca-Cola Regal Films Contest 2019.

The winner of the competition gets their short film played on the big screen at Regal Cinemas before feature-length films begin, for a year.

“The grand prize winner gets to have their film shown in all of the Regal Theaters, nationwide," Campisi said. “I can’t wrap my head around it, the idea of having our film up there."

Their 35 second short is called, "The Big Wish." Here's a synopsis, according to Peterson:

It starts out in a vintage consignment shop, we have our hipster girl thumbing through some clothes when her attention is drawn to a vintage camera. So, she puts it to her eye, and all of a sudden, smoke starts coming out, and a genie appears. He says hey, now that you’ve freed me, I can grant you one wish. So, she thinks about it for a second and she goes, I wish I could be in my happy place. And boom, they poof in to this amazing Regal Cinemas," Peterson said. "She goes to go get her popcorn and the genie poofs in behind her and he's already got it for her. She has this moment of taking the Coca-Cola and being in her happy place. They go and sit in the theater and he leans over and says, this would have been my wish too, and they enjoy the film.

UNLV Associate Professor of Film Brett Levner is working as their faculty adviser. When Levner was a student in film school in 2004, she won the same competition.

“I’m crossing my fingers, I’m hoping for them to be able to get out there and have their film shown, because for filmmakers, that’s the dream, to be able to share that vision with others," she said. “Win, lose, it’s a great experience, it doesn’t matter. The joy on our students’ faces to put on the red Coca-Cola/Regal contest T-shirts, it was just amazing.”

Levner explained that this is a huge opportunity for the students, but also, for the university's film school, as it helps put it on the map. Some of the other finalists come from powerhouse film schools such as UCLA and NYU.

“We have so much to offer," she said. "Just because you don’t live in LA or New York doesn’t mean that you can’t become a filmmaker.”

In March, the short film will hit the Internet with the other finalists. People will vote on their favorite one, and the winner will be revealed in May.

Winning is the goal for these two students.

“That would be my big wish," Peterson said.

But, the experience they've had so far, is a win itself, they say.

“Oh my gosh we learned so much, so much," Campisi said. "I am really grateful that we had this opportunity.”

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