[Jan 10, 2018, 8:49 PM]
RALEIGH, N.C. (Oct. 4, 2022) — A five-minute narrative about a beach trip that led to a music career emerged as the winner in the Firsts That Last Film Series Competition, Visit North Carolina announced today. With 17,480 votes, “Jacob’s First Mandolin” triumphed over 11 other entries in a first-of-a kind tourism campaign informed by the power of memory to bind travelers to time and place.
The film by Taylor Sharp recounts a bet made on a family vacation at Emerald Isle: If father Will could get a pair of fish to bite on the day’s final cast from Bogue Inlet Pier, son Jacob could get a mandolin. Two fish nibbled, and the rest is history, with Jacob going on to cofound the Chapel Hill-based band Mipso. Sharp plans to donate part of the $30,000 prize to Casting for Hope, a nonprofit he cofounded to assist women living with gynecological cancers, and also to put funds toward producing a film about his mother, who died of ovarian cancer in 2010.
“The story embodies so many aspects of the North Carolina travel experience,” said Wit Tuttell, executive director of Visit NC. “It took place in one of the countless settings that reward travelers with a sense of closeness and completeness, of infinite possibility. Such moments are life-enriching if not always life-changing, and the Sharps would surely treasure the memory even without the bonus music lovers have enjoyed with Mipso’s recordings and the band’s live shows.”
The “Firsts That Last” films continue to roll on VisitNC.com, where the series launched in April to showcase shorts based on travels across the state. Visit NC, the state’s tourism marketing organization, commissioned the films based on proposed storylines that celebrate the enduring value of North Carolina travel experiences. Along with inspiration from entries that span the state, the website offers ideas and information for trip planners plotting journeys of their own.
Sharp, who grew up in Morganton, said a number of compelling stories came to mind when he learned about the competition and its focus. He quickly settled on “Jacob’s First Mandolin.”
“I recognized that there was no story I knew better,” he said. Its meaning became more resonant while making the film, especially as he reflected on his father’s willingness to scratch Jacob’s creative itch and on the moment’s significance to his brother’s journey. “While interviewing my dad and brother, I realized how much of an impact that mandolin had on the rest of our lives.”
The series’ other 11 films further illuminate the transformative power of travel. Here's the lineup on the digital marquee with “Jacob’s First Mandolin”:
The campaign, dubbed Firsts That Last 2.0, extends the vision of Visit NC’s earlier Firsts That Last, an award-winning collection of shorts documenting first-time trips to the state by travelers pursuing personal firsts: glimpsing the ocean, tasting moonshine and seeing a waterfall. The film series takes the concept beyond the original campaign’s live-in-the-moment quality to underscore deeper meaning for everyone from resident North Carolinians to out-of-state visitors, from first-timers to vacation regulars.
“These talented filmmakers and their subjects reach remarkable heights in exploring and re-creating life-changing moments,” Tuttell said. “Journeys unfold in places you’d expect and some you wouldn’t. These stories will inspire people to make every trip count as they immerse themselves in North Carolina’s natural wonders, its cities and culture, and add meaning and memories to their lives.”
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