By Lisa DiCarlucci, Entertainment Editor
With any luck, the Oscar's red carpet will have a place this year for Hofstra seniors Luz Pena and Phil Robibero. The anchor and videographer team entered mtvU's "Oscar Correspondent" contest along with college students from all over the country, and have earned a spot in the final three. The two will head to California for a week of Oscar-related activities as they vie for the prize of red-carpet access.
"I actually got an email from one of my Journalism professors with a link to the mtvU website and I said to myself, ‘I love the academy, my passion is Journalism; I can totally do this," Pena said.
"Luz approached me with this opportunity and it sounded like a great idea," Robibero said.
And so the process began. The pair had to make a video about why they deserved to win the competition, which mtvU used to pick the top ten.
"For an entire month we planned the story line and shot and edited the video. We initially wrote 3 stories, which involved the craziest things you can imagine, like a person in a chicken suit. Glad I was able to bring Phil back into his senses," Pena said. "We shot the first video last semester during finals and then we began the editing process, which involved countless hours of us in front of his computer."
"Luz and I are really active people when it comes to extracurricular, so its always tough to wedge extra work into our schedules," Robibero said. "We first conceptualized how we wanted the video to come out. That involved us outlining the structure of the video. Then we shot it with the help of some of our friends and random students who were willing to help."
The work didn't end there though. When the pair made it into the top three they were asked to make yet another video for people to vote on. This time, they tried to flex their creativity muscles.
"When we made it to the top 3 in the nation, we had to make a second video and for this one we only got three days to do it. But, it still came out great and extremely creative," Pena said, "We made a story using four movies that are being nominated this year and got really creative with it."
Voting for this video is going on now and you can vote for Phil and Luz at mtvu.com/oscars. Much of their success is thanks to the Hofstra students who were dedicated to voting for them and the Hofstra community who promoted their participation in the competition.
"I believe that the Hofstra community played a huge role. If it wasn't for their support and votes, we may have never made it to the top 3," Robibero said, "The Hofstra PR department was a big help as well. They sent out press releases in our behalf."
"The support has been unbelievable coming from the public relations department, Residential Programs, the alumni association, SGA, HTVi, the Chronicle and all of our friends who have taken time to join us on our advertising rounds," Pena said, "Its amazing how people we hadn't met before come up to us and tell us they liked our video and voted, and that's when we realize that even though we might not know everyone on campus we can feel their support in countless ways."
Thanks to their video's popularity, they will head to California for the entire week before the Oscars for activities which mtvU is sending them to. According to the mtvUpress release, "All three teams will cover Academy Awards pre-events in Hollywood, including the Animated Feature Symposium, Foreign Language Film Award photo op, the Makeup Artists and Hairstylists Symposium and the Governors Ball preview. Teams will post their video coverage of these events online at oscars.mtvu.com for the public to view," mtvU said. "The Grand Prize-winning team will be revealed on Saturday, February 26, at an Academy press conference. The anchor and videographer will be awarded a spot on the red carpet for the 83rd Academy Awards arrivals as well as access to the backstage press rooms. The two runner-up teams will receive bleacher seats along the red carpet and admission to an Oscar viewing party."
To say that Pena and Robibero are excited would be an understatment. "This has been one of my life long dreams, to be on the red carpet interviewing celebrities, and to be able to do it at this moment in my life would be surreal," Pena said. "This is just the beginning of the many great things that are yet to come, and I'm thrilled that the opportunity has presented itself and knocked on my door."
Robibero agrees that this is only the beginning of his and Pena's success. "If we won, it would be a culmination of my life's work here at Hofstra. It would show how much Luz and I have grown as content creators," Robibero said.
Both are thrilled to be given the oppurtunity to share space with people they look up to and get a taste of their future careers.
"I'm extremely excited to be able to do what I love the most, which is to interview," Pena said, "And, to be able to have a chance to be on the red carpet and interview celebrities along with reporters that I admire side by side is priceless."
Robibero agreed, saying, "I'm excited to be among the industry leaders and being able to mingle with them. Seeing the people you look up to in person is an invaluable experience and a once in a lifetime opportunity."