Media Contacts:

Sheila Eldridge, Miles Ahead Entertainment


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Heather Wong, Sprint


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Hallema S. Clyburn, Thurgood Marshall College Fund


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Two winners of short film competition will launch their careers with a trip to Los Angeles  and a day on a movie set with actor Idris Elba


Overland Park, Kan. – April 14, 2011Sprint (NYSE: S), along with contest partners Thurgood Marshall College Fund and Wells Fargo, today announced the winners of the 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge, a short film competition that calls for college students to create a short film on a smartphone. The winners are Michelle Pena of Towson University in Baltimore and Heath Simmons of the Art Institute of Charlotte in Charlotte, NC.

Pena and Simmons, who submitted the short films, “New Beat” and “Mr. Postman,” respectively, were selected by public voting among seven finalist videos posted on www.4gcompetitiveedge.com. The winning prizes include a $2,500 cash prize to launch their film career, and a trip to Los Angeles to dine with a Sprint executive and to go on a movie set with actor and the campaign’s official ambassador, Idris Elba.

“The 4G Competitive Edge Competition was an excellent display of skilled and talented college students mastering their artistry,” said Matt Carter, president of Sprint Global Wholesale Services (Title TBD).  “Combining creativity and Sprint 4G’s applications resulted in entertaining filmmaking while utilizing the latest technology capabilities. We hope this challenge will continue to encourage and hopefully inspire students to push the boundaries of tradition no matter the pursuit.”

About the 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge winners:

  • Michelle Pena of Towson University in Baltimore. – Described her film, “New Beat,” as “every day is beautiful but one must always look.” Pena exposes viewers to raw black-and-white aesthetics that were recorded using a vintage camera application.

  •  Heath Simmons of the Art Institute of Charlotte, Charlotte, NC, described his film as “capturing a moment we can all relate to,” Simmons’ “Mr. Postman” short film depicts an annoying postman searching for a person at the wrong house. Simmons plays both characters while infusing humor and making good use of camera angles and techniques.

The official announcement was made at Howard University as part of the Wells Fargo “Create Your Legacy” Empowerment Symposium that featured a career panel discussion with film and entertainment professionals including: Director William Packer of “Takers” and “Stomp The Yard,” Actor Hosea Chanchez of BET’s “The Game” and Jawn Murray of the Tom Joyner Morning Show and MSNBC. Actor Idris Elba also participated in the symposium via video conferencing.

The 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge was launched in December 2010 with a supporting Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) tour, where college students had the opportunity to attend a career seminar with industry experts that included celebrity guests. Professionals gave students fresh insight on the different elements necessary for a successful career in film using the latest in technology. Additionally, students had a hands-on experience with the latest Sprint 4G products and attended an exclusive screening of Idris Elba’s new feature film, “Legacy.”

Recognizing the importance and vitality social media plays in an evolving media space, the Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF) partnership activated a strong presence among various networks. From servicing college radio stations and websites to HBCU social networks, TMCF sought target markets catering to students while generating buzz.

“The Thurgood Marshall College Fund represents 47 public Historically Black Colleges and Universities and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) and the nearly 300,000 students matriculating on their campuses. They are a truly unique pool of talent for Sprint, Wells Fargo and Idris Elba to find the most talented young minds,” said Thurgood Marshall College Fund President & CEO Johnny C. Taylor, Jr. “The 4G Competitive Edge Filmmakers Challenge is a pairing of the arts and technology that distinctly aligns with the type of innovation and ingenuity we are cultivating in our next generation of leaders.”

Sprint has been a leader in 4G wireless technology since launching its first 4G market in Baltimore in October 2008. Sprint 4G is in 71 markets across the nation and offers a growing 4G device portfolio. Sprint 4G service plans are available at Sprint retail stores, through Sprint telesales at 1-800-Sprint-1 or online at www.sprint.com/4G.

Follow along on Facebook at: Sprint, Thurgood Marshall College Fund, Create the Legacy and Idris Elba, or on Twitter at: @sprint, @tmcf_hbcu and @idriselba.

About Sprint Nextel

Sprint Nextel offers a comprehensive range of wireless and wireline communications services bringing the freedom of mobility to consumers, businesses and government users. Sprint Nextel served more than 49.9 million customers at the end of 2010 and is widely recognized for developing, engineering and deploying innovative technologies, including the first wireless 4G service from a national carrier in the United States; offering industry-leading mobile data services, leading prepaid brands including Virgin Mobile USA, Boost Mobile, and Assurance WirelessSM; instant national and international push-to-talk capabilities; and a global Tier 1 Internet backbone. Newsweek ranked Sprint No. 6 in its 2010 Green Rankings, listing it as one of the nation’s greenest companies, the highest of any telecommunications company. You can learn more and visit Sprint at www.sprint.com or www.facebook.com/sprint and www.twitter.com/sprint.

About Wells Fargo

Wells Fargo & Company (NYSE: WFC) is a nationwide, diversified, community-based financial services company with $1.3 trillion in assets. Founded in 1852 and headquartered in San Francisco, Wells Fargo provides banking, insurance, investments, mortgage, and consumer and commercial finance through more than 9,000 stores, 12,000 ATMs, the Internet (wellsfargo.com and wachovia.com), and other distribution channels across North America and internationally. With approximately 280,000 team members, Wells Fargo serves one in three households in America. Wells Fargo & Company was ranked No. 19 on Fortune’s 2009 rankings of America’s largest corporations. Wells Fargo’s vision is to satisfy all our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.

About The Thurgood Marshall College Fund
The Thurgood Marshall College Fund (TMCF), named for the U.S. Supreme Court's first African-American Justice, was established in 1987. TMCF supports and represents nearly 300,000 students attending our 47-member schools, which include public Historically Black Colleges & Universities (HBCUs) and Predominantly Black Institutions (PBIs). TMCF's work is critical to guaranteeing our country a robust and diverse pipeline of talented workers and future leaders. TMCF achieves its vision of Changing the World . . . One Leader at a Time by focusing on three areas: Scholarships, Capacity Building & Programmatic Support, and Public Policy & Advocacy.