Melville, N.Y. -
Tuesday revealed the winners of its first-ever online video contest, called the Nikon Festival, which was created to underscore the advanced video-recording capabilities in its digital-SLR cameras.
Marko Slavnic from the University
of Texas, Austin, was named the Nikon Festival Judges'
Award Winner, and will receive $100,000 and Nikon
equipment to further his film career.
"So many people see filmmaking as this elite thing and that you need a big crew to produce a quality film," said Slavnic. "I was excited when a friend told me about the Festival, and Nikon has shown people that you don't have to be a professional to create a film and be seen by a huge audience."
Slavnic's video submission was a short subject film entitled "
." It is a funny, physical story of unexpected love brought to life through a fast-food mascot rivalry between a boy and girl.
The video was shot over two days on Congress Street in Austin.
Slavnic said he plans to invest his winnings in his next project - a feature film.
He said he also wants to give back to the local film community that supported him, especially friend Andrew McDonald, who was instrumental in helping with his submission.
"I plan to use a Nikon d-SLR to shoot my feature film because it's so simple," added Slavnic. "In my experience with the Festival, Nikon's cameras allowed me more shooting versatility, while producing mind-blowing images."
Slavnic entered four different submissions for the Festival, including "The Hug Lady," "One Second," and the two top 50 finalists "Chicken vs. Penguin" and "Where Were You in '92?"
Slavnic credited his mother, who served as a television producer in Sarajevo before the family moved to the U.S. in 1992, as his role model.
The winner of the Nikon Festival Audience Award was San Antonio resident Joshua Friedberg, who will receive $25,000 as the top vote-getter among fans, for his video "
." The video focused on a 24-hour period in New York, and included renowned locations.
"I got into video through skateboarding and learned how to shoot by just doing it," said Friedberg. "That's part of why I think the Nikon Festival is such a great event, it motivated people to be creative and get out there and shoot."
As a former professional skateboarder, Friedberg rallied widespread support from the skateboarding community to earn a combination of the most views and highest average rating, Nikon said.
He credited retweets of his Festival video via Twitter by media personalities Bam Margera, Steve Berra and Tony Hawk as a key to his win.
Friedberg said he plans to use the $25,000 to help revive 411 Video Magazine, which covers the skateboarding community.
"The great response for the Nikon Festival demonstrates the positive impact online engagement can have for brands and consumers. We believe there was tremendous participation because the online festival provided a unique way for people to create, collaborate and share their videos," said Lisa Baxt, Nikon senior communications manager. "The Nikon Festival is an example of our commitment to innovative marketing communications programs that drive meaningful interaction with consumers, particularly aspiring content creators. Through this program, we were able to help educate people about Nikon products that offer HD video capabilities, while empowering them to try their hand at using video and become a part of a Nikon community."
Participants, judges and fans used blogs, Facebook and Twitter to enlist interest and support for the online Festival.
The Nikon Festival Web site received more than 590,000 unique visitors and generated more than 1.9 million page views, Nikon said.