Sandwich chain Subway has hit another 2015 milestone in opening 500 stores in non-traditional locations in the UK and Ireland. The brand is continuing to target stores in sites including petrol forecourts, convenience stores, hospitals and transport hubs, universities and colleges. Partners include Welcome Break, Euro Garages, Blakemore, Applegreen and Sodexo.The franchise-operated business is still looking for partners and will be joining the line-up of exhibitors at the National Convenience Show (NCS) at Birmingham’s NEC this week.Alice Chalmers, national accounts manager for Subway UK and Ireland, said: “As a key player in the convenience sector, now with over 500 stores in non-traditional locations, the NCS provides the perfect platform to showcase the partnership opportunities available with the Subway brand. The opportunity to be Bronze Partners at this year’s National Convenience Show is very important to the Subway brand and we are delighted to have taken this on for the third year.“As the UK and Ireland’s largest specialist sandwich provider, it is vital for the Subway brand to lead the way in the convenience retail sector. When discussing opportunities with potential franchisees and landlords, the Subway brand highlights the benefits that the addition of a Subway franchise into a convenience store can bring; for example increased footfall and excellent business growth opportunities.”Subway earlier this year announced the opening of its 2,000th store in the UK and Ireland along with a plan to reach 3,000 by 2020.
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Photo courtesy of Ariel HellerAriel Heller sat up in bed when he read the original script for his Student Academy Award-winning thesis film last spring. Upon reading it, Heller knew then he had to bring the script to life. The script was written by alumnus Celia Rettenmaeier for a simulated studio-like production course, CTPR 546, Heller was in. It was originally titled “Blue Gatorade and Cheetos,” but over the course of the year, Heller and Rettenmaeier developed the script into Mammoth, a film following two brothers embarking on a journey to Mammoth Lakes after one discovers he is diagnosed with terminally ill cancer. With its compelling characters and visuals, Mammoth won a silver medal for best narrative film by a U.S. school for the Student Academy Awards. An alumnus of the USC Cinematic Arts program, Heller was one of two USC student recipient filmmakers awarded this season.Heller recalled the developmental process for the film as streamlined and uncomplicated after sitting down with Rettenmaier. The original script could not be made in the production course because of its 12-minute time constraint, but the possibility of Rettenmaier’s script making it into Heller’s thesis film was a viable option. Rettenmaier agreed and Heller began adapting the script, then shooting the film in December 2016.After receiving a bachelor’s degree in musical theater from Emerson College in Boston, Heller moved to New York City and began working as a stage actor in the Blue Man Group and the critically acclaimed Broadway play War Horse. In 2014, he relocated to Los Angeles to pursue a master’s degree at USC.Heller credits renowned filmmakers such as Alexander Payne, Charlie Kaufman and Spike Jones as an early influence on his writing and directing style. “The kind of humor and sensibility, and edge and tone that those guys get has always been what I’m after,” Heller said. “It comes in performance and complexities in relationships … mixed with the absurdity of life and how ridiculous things are and the ability to laugh at ourselves, feel pain and be vulnerable.”The 22-minute film focuses on two brothers, played by Tad Cooley and Alex Hoeffler, grappling with themes of death, time and acceptance as one of them battles terminal cancer. Mammoth explores juxtaposing visuals and tone, with dark humor accompanied by vast seclusions of Northern California winter landscape.Heller petitioned at USC to include his own brother Caleb Heller, an American Film Institute graduate, as director of photography for Mammoth.The title of the film takes also on a double entendre, according to Heller. “[Mammoth is] not just the physical place, but the size of the decision, the size of the symbology of the biggest and last decision you’ll ever make,” Heller said.As a director, Heller doesn’t shy away from political stances. He openly creates statements emphasizing “death with dignity” or the “right-to-die” laws for patients battling terminal illnesses.“The reason why I was so compelled with the story is because death with dignity — as a cause in this country and a law — is one that had caught my eye a few years back,” Heller said. He specifically mentioned the controversial Brittany Maynard case, in which a 29-year-old woman decided to take her life after learning she had terminal brain cancer. The case propelled California to pass a law in June 2016, allowing individuals with a terminal diagnosis the right to physician-assisted suicide. Heller wanted to ensure Mammoth did not fall into the category of a soapbox film; he instead displays his point of view through the dynamic relationships of his characters.“It’s an opportunity to shed a light on something through a real moment, through a real relationship, one that’s more nuanced and more complicated,” Heller said. “I hope that anyone who comes to see the film who might otherwise be skeptical or in opposition to that right, might walk away from this movie seeing value in affording people the privilege to be in control at the end.”