Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Heineken USA & USC Toast Student Music Video Directors

University graduate students, rock music, and beer. Sounds like a party doesn't it? Well, it was. Recently in Beverly Hills at the prestigious Paley Center invited guests, USC School of Cinematic Arts graduate students, and two independent rock bands partied with a purpose thanks to Heineken USA.

At the event two stellar music videos featuring bands, Low Stars and Rocco and the Burden, premiered before an anticipating crowd of approximately 250 guests. The videos were produced and directed by the USC graduate students for the bands' songs Just Around the Corner and Gift, thanks to grants provided by Heineken. Each band chose a team from among a 150 submissions, based on treatments written by the students that best reflected the message and emotion of their song.

Though I wasn't able to get the actual music videos--understandably, Heineken wants MTV, VH-1, and other music video outlets to show them first--I do have the next best thing, live performances!

Here's Rocco and the Burden peforming their song Gift.

Meet the band's pic to produce the video:

John Thompson and Tess Ortbals

And performing their song, Just Around the Corner, is Low Stars

Here's the winning team chosen to produce the video :

Coyote Marino, John Edward Miller, and Claire Sullivan-Taylor

So how did such a creative idea to fund the production of music videos come about in the corporate halls of Heineken? According to Mike McCann, Vice President of Sponsorship and Brand Experience, the idea was sparked from the success Heineken had last year with funding short films produced by students at NYU Film School.

"We just had a brainstorm one day, why don't we marry our two passion points of music and film and have them put together in music video...And what it did was insert an element of talent which can be rough waters to navigate at times frankly with egos and rights issues, depending on which talent you go with..."

Fortunately, with these bands it was all smooth sailing. Low Stars and Rocco DeLuca and the Burden were chosen for the program thanks to previous connections and "proved to be giving and collaborative," said McCann. "I think the relationships we created between the students and these bands will last a lifetime."

Creating positive long lasting impressions is obviously important to the company. From the Red Star Soul music tour and Independent Achievers Awards, to the Red Star Award in filmmaking, and with the collaborations with film schools to give deserving young talents a chance to shine, evidently Heineken is brewing more than beer lately. So what's the underlying message in it all? I asked Pattie Falch, Promotions and Sponsorship manager, for the answer.

"I hope it's really showing people that you can be a large company and a large brand and do something that's really natural, authentic, and real, and supporting people...really inspiring them to do what they truly believe in."

That's an effort worth raising your drink and toasting to. If you'd like to learn more about Heineken and it's support of independent artists visit the company's website HERE and be sure to check the archives here at Hollywood: As I Live and Work or just do a search to read about their previous events.

Here's a few pics I took at the Paley Center event:

Two logos that work great together!

Celebrity presence is always anticipated in Beverly Hills...Gina Gershon and Debi Mazer

Here's Rocco and the Burden

Members of Low Stars recording in a sound booth inside the Paley Center

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