This past weekend, a team from Anacortes High School won first place and $1,000 in the 48-hour film competition at NFFTY, the world’s largest international youth film festival. This was Anacortes High School’s first win at the festival, competing against 21 other schools across the country and in Canada. Led by Will McCracken, the group consisted of seniors John Harrison, Mason Blackburn, Conor Powell and junior Jacob Hoxie. Jade Carter, a senior, and her father, Rob Carter, acted in the film as well.
After walking away from previous film competitions empty handed, McCracken said the team went into this weekend trying not to get their hopes too high, stating, “There was a lot of talented people and I was just happy to be there.” Their hard work paid off. In the moments after their win, Powell described Harrison as the most excited he has ever seen anyone.
Their film, titled “Nostophobia,” the fear of coming home, depicts a young man’s struggle returning home after being away. The prompt for the 48-hour competition was “facing your fears” and required that the finished product contain the line, “the world is yours.” After a long night of coming up with a concept while simultaneously dealing with cabin fever (Powell), the group landed on a solid idea. Shot on Guemes Island at an old property, McCracken said, “we wanted to frame the film as if the place we were talking about was a haunted house.” With a plot twist at the end, Hoxie said the audience was able to interpret the film however they wanted. Harrison remarked, “We wanted to play with the subversion of expectations.”
Winning wasn’t the sole highlight of the festival. The group was able to meet other young filmmakers like themselves and make connections with people in the industry. Hoxie, who scored the film, said the entire weekend was an unforgettable experience, “I got to spend the weekend with people I love, doing what I love,” he said. Some members of the team want to go into the filmmaking business after high school and most will continue submitting films to NFFTY for as long as they meet the age requirement. Powell said, “It was an incredible, and life changing opportunity.” McCracken, stated, “This is just the beginning.”
You can watch the film below: