Nikon Festival Crowns Top Two Winners From More Than 1,200 Videos A Penguin, a Chicken and New York City Star in Top Submissions

Actor Rainn Wilson, Photographer Chase Jarvis and Internet Personality "iJustine" Select 140-Second Video $100,000 Winner in Celebration of HD Video

MELVILLE, N.Y., Jan. 26 /PRNewswire/ -- In search of the next great online video talent, Nikon Inc. today announced the winners of its Nikon Festival, launched in November to celebrate, inspire and harness the current popularity of D-SLR video creation and social media.

The Nikon Festival Judges' Award Winner is Marko Slavnic, a 2006 graduate of the University of Texas Austin, and he 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 Marko Slavnic, Nikon Festival Judges' Award Winner. "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."

Drawing from his own experiences as a shy teenager, Marko Slavnic's video submission entitled "Chicken vs. Penguin" is a unique short film that shows a funny, physical story of unexpected love brought to life through a fast food mascot rivalry between a boy and girl. It was shot over two days on Congress Street in Austin, TX. Slavnic plans to use the $100,000 to invest in his next project, which will be a feature film. He also wants to give back to his local film community who 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 Nikon Festival, including "The Hug Lady," "One Second," and the two top 50 finalists "Chicken vs. Penguin" and "Where Were You in '92?" He credits his mother as his role model, who served as a television producer in Sarajevo before their family moved to the U.S. in 1992.

The Nikon Festival Audience Award winner is San Antonio resident Joshua Friedberg. He will receive $25,000 as the top fan favorite for his video "New York State of Mind." The video captured twenty four hours in New York, featuring renowned locations.

"I got into video through skateboarding and learned how to shoot by just doing it," said Joshua Friedberg, Nikon Festival Audience Award Winner. "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. He credits retweets of his Festival video via Twitter by media personalities Bam Margera, Steve Berra and Tony Hawk as a key to his win. Friedberg plans to use the $25,000 to help revive 411 Video Magazine that 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, Senior Communications Manager for Nikon Inc. "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."

The groundswell of support and campaigning by participants and judges and fans in the online Nikon Festival community occurred through Facebook (facebook.com/NikonFestival), Twitter (@NikonFestival) and blogs reflects the overall success of this integrated marketing campaign. The Nikon Festival website received more than 590,000 unique visitors and generated more than 1.9 million page views.

About Nikon Festival

With the accessibility of HD video for independent movie making, Nikon created the Nikon Festival to challenge people to upload 140-second short-form videos with the theme "A Day through Your Lens" to NikonFestival.com.

The top 50 Nikon Festival finalists were posted in an online gallery on www.NikonFestival.com, where finalists were given the opportunity to win one of two awards: a Judges' Award or an Audience Award. The Judges' Award Winner was determined by the Nikon Festival judges, who selected the high-scoring video based on image quality, originality and the ability to capture the "A Day through Your Lens" theme in 140 seconds or less.  In addition to the $100,000 awarded by the Festival judges, the top 50 finalists were encouraged to use social media platforms, including Twitter and Facebook, to campaign for views and votes in order to win the Audience Award of $25,000.  

Nikon enlisted influencers from TV, photography and social media to serve as official Festival judges, who each shared personal videos shot with a Nikon D-SLR camera to inspire and guide entrants. Nikon advertising star, Ashton Kutcher, who kicked off the Nikon Festival with an opening tweet from his Twitter platform @aplusk, features his own personally shot video taken with the D5000, which captures his recent visit to Africa.

For more information on the Nikon Festival and other information on products from Nikon, please visit www.nikonusa.com. Follow the Festival on Twitter at the address: @NikonFestival or visit Facebook at www.Facebook.com/NikonFestival for winner updates and new information.

About the Nikon Festival Judges

Rainn Wilson is an actor and writer, best known for his role as the endearingly awkward Dwight Shrute on The Office. He has acquired a major online following and strong media presence for his thought-evoking website SoulPancake.com, with more than 1,800,000 followers through his Twitter address: @RainnWilson.

iJustine (Justine Ezarik) is a popular Internet evangelist and online video personality, who is the top video blogger on YouTube and iJustine.com. With more than 1,100,000 followers through her Twitter address: @iJustine, she recently served as the official Twitter correspondent for the 2009 MTV Video Music Awards.

Chase Jarvis is an acclaimed professional photographer, author and active social media influencer. To see more of his work visit www.chasejarvis.com or follow him at his Twitter address: @chasejarvis. 

About Nikon

Nikon, At the Heart of the Image™. Nikon Inc. is the world leader in digital imaging, precision optics and photo imaging technology and is globally recognized for setting new standards in product design and performance for its award-winning consumer and professional photographic equipment. Nikon Inc. distributes consumer and professional digital SLR cameras, NIKKOR optics, Speedlights and system accessories; Nikon COOLPIX® compact digital cameras; COOLSCAN® digital film scanners; 35mm film SLR cameras; Nikon software products and Nikon sports and recreational optics. For the second consecutive year, Nikon D Series digital SLR cameras are recognized as "Highest in Customer Satisfaction with digital SLR cameras, Two Years in a Row, Tied in 2008." according to the J.D. Power and Associates 2007 and 2008 Digital Camera Usage and Satisfaction StudiesSM. For more information, dial (800) NIKON-UX or visit http://www.nikonusa.com, which links all levels of photographers to the Web's most comprehensive photo learning and sharing communities.

For J.D. Power and Associates award information go to jdpower.com

SOURCE Nikon Inc.



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