MUM film grad hands out Oscars
A recent Maharishi University of Management film school graduate had a chance to hob-nob with Hollywood A-listers during the 89th Academy Awards ceremony in February.
Johnny Coffeen, who recently joined ranks with producer, director Spike Lee and actor, comedian Bob Saget after snagging the bronze medal for his alternative film “The Swan Girl,” at the 2016 Student Academy Awards, was subsequently selected to be a presenter and escort during Hollywood’s biggest night.
“The whole thing was very surreal,” said Coffeen of the Oscars. “You’re surrounded by all of these people that you see all of the time; you’re walking the red carpet; all of the press people … it was a lot to take in.”
Coffeen said the story of why he was selected goes back to his student academy award win.
“This year, they decided to have some of the student winners do some trophy presenting,” he said. “I got to hold a lot of them. The first thing you realize when you hold it is how heavy it is.”
Coffeen said he practiced with “fake” Oscar trophies during rehearsal, and although he was nervous, he handled the big day pretty well.
“I was surprised that I wasn’t afraid. I was standing in front of all of these great people — film-makers, actresses and actors, and people were watching from all over the world,” he said.
Coffeen would present the trophies to the main presenters, which were usually actors and actresses who would present the awards to the winners.
Coffeen also served as an escort during the event, bringing in such well-knowns as Jason Bateman, Kate McKinnon, Salma Hayek, Meryl Streep, Ben Affleck, Matt Damon and Leonardo DiCaprio, to name a few.
He said he was most excited to meet Meryl Streep.
“I was pleased how consistently sweet and genuinely humble she was,” he said. “Thankfully, the celebrities came in the day before the show to rehearse, so perhaps as a defense mechanism, I had to quickly adapt to the situation by thinking ‘oh, you know, no big deal that I’m sitting next to Shirley MacLaine as she talks about he experiences acting in one of my favorite films, “The Apartment,” while Michael J. Fox and Seth Rogen are across from me cracking jokes about the “Back to The Future II” shoes Seth was wearing.”
Enthused by the event, Coffeen’s goal is to keep creating, and he’s currently working on his own feature length film.