Cullowhee teen wins film contest

The National Coalition Against Censorship announced Anne Wade of Cullowhee as the winner of the 11th annual Youth Free Expression Project Film Contest, which asked teen filmmakers to explore censorship issues of the past, present and future.

Wade’s “Don’t Let Them Take Your Voice” is a black-and-white silent film addressing the topic of censorship in schools. Wade will receive a cash prize of $1,000. The top three finalists will be flown to New York City to attend the March 21 screening at the New York Film Academy.

“I’m incredibly honored,” Wade said. “It is my hope that the message presented by my film conveys the importance of free speech — not only in small-town America, like the place I call home, but also throughout the world.”

“The imagination of some of these filmmakers really astounded me,” said Mayukh Sen, NCAC’s Program Associate for the Youth Free Expression Project. “A number of them showed a deft, complex understanding of free speech issues beyond their years.”  

The panel of judges included Igor Vamos of The Yes Men; Keith Phipps of The Dissolve; young adult authors Chris Crutcher, Kami Garcia, and Ellen Hopkins; filmmakers Peggy Rajski and Jay Anania of New York University’s Tisch School of the Arts. They were also joined by the winner of last year’s contest, Ani Akpan from the Bronx.  

The Youth Free Expression Film Contest is made possible by generous support from the Shelley and Donald Rubin Foundation and the New York Film Academy. The National Coalition Against Censorship (NCAC) is an alliance of 50 national nonprofit organizations dedicated to defending freedom of thought, inquiry and expression. For more information, visit

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