Tire company giving prize money to students to make video

March 7, 2009/Steve Tackett


In its ongoing series for car safety education, Bridgestone Americas is launching its third annual video contest for teens and young adults.
Last year’s theme for Bridgestone’s Safety Scholar’s Video Contest was car crashes. “They claim the lives of more 16-21 year-olds than any other cause,” explained Christine Karbowiak, vice president, community and corporate relations said during the recent showing of the three winning films.
The contest, now in 2009 entering its third year, invites 16 to 21 year-old student filmmakers to enter short safety-themed videos. Each year the top three filmmakers win a $5,000 college scholarship and the overall top 10 finalists win a new set of Bridgestone.
Students from across the country submitted 620 videos for the 2008 contest. The first place winner, Sarah Wilson, a junior at the University of South Florida majoring in Mass Communications, is an aspiring independent filmmaker with numerous short films and public service announcements to her credit.
Wilson’s winning video, “Drive to Arrive,” showed a group of teenagers recounting a collision they were involved in as a result of text messaging behind the wheel. The camera then pulls back to reveal that the teens are actually ghosts standing in a graveyard.
“The goal for my Safety Scholars video was to reach young drivers who, like many of my friends, drive distracted and think nothing of it. I aimed to create a video that built up toward a powerful ending to drive home the consequences of text messaging behind the wheel and other dangerous driving behaviors,” said Wilson.
Second place winner Ryan Massey, 18 year-old from Laguna Niguel, Calif., used a dramatic life-changing first-person account as the basis for his Safety Scholars video entitled, “Ryan’s Song.”
Massey was involved in a car accident that killed two of his friends, both of whom were not wearing seat belts. Massey suffered critical injuries. He entered the contest as an opportunity to talk to his peers about the importance of seatbelt usage.
“When I first heard about the Bridgestone Firestone Safety Scholars video contest I felt compelled to share the story of my survival from a tragic car accident. My video addresses seatbelt safety because a seatbelt saved my life. By using actual photos of myself taken days after the accident, I hope I can make an impact on others and help prevent needless deaths. I also felt that by re-enacting the night’s events, teen viewers could better relate to my experience.”
Third place winner Danny Belkin, who attends New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts, features a narrator warning viewers about the dangers of behind-the-wheel cellphone use. Belkin’s inspiration for the video, “Cellphone on the Road,” came from witnessing countless distracted New York City taxi drivers talk on their cellphones while navigating the busiest city street in the country.
“My love for film began with a stack of VHS tapes. Sick in bed for two weeks, movies not only kept me company, but also sparked my interest in the art of filmmaking. My video emphasizes the dangers drivers face when, instead of the road, they focus their attention on a phone conversation.”
A special Critics’ Choice award was given to 17-year-old Angela Roscioli of Bethlehem, Penn. After witnessing a collision near her home, Roscioli wondered how a car accident she might be involved in would impact her family.
In Angela’s video, a young girl flashes forward to write a farewell letter to her parents before getting into a car with friends. Her letter explains the fateful decisions she and her friends will make while behind the wheel and the fatal car accident that will result from their poor choices.
For 2009 the theme is Automotive Environmentalism. The short videos must be limited to 25 to 55 seconds in length. The first 300 entries will be accepted May 27 through June 17. For more information and to see the winning videos visit: www.safetyscholars.com.

Photo: First place filmmaker, Sarah Wilson, is interviewed on the dangers of teen texting while driving.
Copyright, Motor Matters, 2009