Video Work of CIU Student Featured in Mainstream Film

October 20, 2017

By Michael A. Lanier

CIU Student Writer

Many fans of LEGO building blocks were quite excited at the release of the new film, “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” but perhaps one of the most excited fans was Columbia International University freshman Johnathan Rabon, whose video skills are featured in the film. Rabon, who has created a YouTube channel called Hoverfrogfilms is majoring in Digital Media and Cinema at CIU.

In anticipation of the film, LEGO sponsored a contest for stop-motion animation LEGO scenes, a popular genre of video in recent years. The winners would have their contest submission edited into the film. Rabon, who has been working with stop-motion animation for about five years, entered the contest, not expecting much out of it.

“I didn't think I would win,” said Rabon, “because they emailed me past the date when they announced the winners.”

But Rabon was elated when he learned that he was one of just six grand-prize winners.

“I freaked out a little bit and scared my parents,” he remarked with a smile. Rabon’s mother is Melina Rabon, a professor of Church Ministry at CIU. 

As a winner, Rabon received a complete set of LEGOs related to “The LEGO Ninjago Movie,” a behind-the-scenes book of the film signed by the director, and figurines signed by stars of the film.

Rabon’s entry titled, “A Day at Work” is featured on TV screens in the background of the main action as the movie opens, and Hoverfrogfilms rolls in the credits. He says since winning the contest, the number of subscribers on his YouTube channel has increased significantly.  

“I'm honored to be able to be in a film,” said Rabon when reflecting on the whole series of events. “Film is what I want to do.” 

Interested in Digital Media and Cinema? Contact CIU at (800) 777-2227 or