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Durham native’s first film, ‘Happy Camp’, debuts

Starting on March 25, if you search your DVR for a thriller/horror film, you just might come across a movie directed and starred in by Durham Native Josh Anthony. Anthony graduated from Coginchaug in 1997, and has been in California since graduating from UConn 11 years ago.

The film is about four friends who travel to Happy Camp, a town known for its mysterious disappearances – including the younger brother of the main character, who returns, intending to make a documentary out of the experience.

Happy Camp is Anthony’s first professionally produced film. “They’re calling it a found footage film, but you might say it’s in the documentary format,” Anthony said. The film takes place in the real-world location of Happy Camp, California. The film was produced by Flower Films, a film production company founded in 1995 by Drew Barrymore and Nancy Juvonen.

Jim Caturano, Anthony’s father, explained that Anthony met Barrymore when working as an extra in Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.

The documentary format is “a little more raw, and a little more intimate,” Anthony said. His vision for the film was to attempt to transport the audience into the setting as much as possible. “I wanted the audience to feel like they were there with us,” Anthony said. The film was shot on location.

“Everyone was really nice there,” Anthony said of the real-world town of Happy Camp. The town is “off the radar a little bit,” he said.

Although some may look down on films shot with handheld cameras, Anthony said, creating the film was a lot of work. With only four cameras, a full cast and crew of only half a dozen people made the movie. Some actors were also writers or producers.

“You can be more creative in low budget films, and I feel like we made a lot of good magic in the film,” Anthony said. Creating an independent film allows you more freedom to take chances, he said.

It’s especially important when shooting days are limited to do extensive preparation and research, Anthony explained. That way, when things go awry, it is possible to creatively work around problems.

The film’s success in being offered On Demand is “huge,” Jim Caturano said, because only two or three films are selected each month.

“I’ve always loved horror movies,” Anthony said. “I feel like the film not only works as a horror film, but also has great characters and a great narrative.”

The film’s trailer can be found on Deadline Hollywood’s YouTube Channel, here:

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